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We have here a prayer, in which the propbet David personates that won
drous man of sorrows, his great root and offspring, the man Christ Jesus; labouring, in the spirit of prophecy, to express something of that earnestness and humility with which he poured out his soul, while he dwelt here in the form of a servant, pursued by cruel men, and bearing our iniquities; as the foregoing psalm foretold be would. But (as it is often apd well observed by Austin) since he prayed only as our head, he is always to be considered as praying for us; even for that whole mystical body of which he vouchsafes to be the head. Mercy for this, as for bis own soul, he begs, because it is dear to him as his own sonl, and is, as it were, (in that mystical union by which he has kpit it to himseif) his very soul. And, by the mercy he obtains for this his soul, be foresees, ver. 9. that all nations shall at length be brought to glorify the Lord.
VER. 2. " Preserve my soul; for I am holy."]-Some understand these words to be a petition of David to God for the preservation of his soul, because he was holy, that is, innocent respecting the accusation that was laid to his charge by Saul; but it appears rather to be a petition of the Mes. siah, who is perfectly boly in his nature, life, and death, and who is empbatically stiled, “ the Holy One," Psalm xvi. 1, 10.
Ver. 13. " And thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.”]-Wbicb is to be understood of the resure rection of the Messiah from the grave. .
In the foregoing psalm we saw our ever blessed lead in pain, as it were, for
his life; that is, the life and safety of bis mystical body, the churchi.
VER. 1. " His foundation is in the boly mountains." -This is literally to be understood of mount Sion, and of the mountains that were round about it; but spiritually it may denote the decrees and purposes of God, which may be fitly compared to mountains for their antiquity, heighth, and firmness.
Ver. 2 “ The Lord loveth the gates of Zion, more than all the dwellings of Jacob.”]-By the gates of Zion we are to understand the ministration of the word of God, and the ordinances of his house, which, as gates, open the way into Zion; and these gates the Lord delights in, as thie opening of his counsel and covenant of grace to bis people, « more than all the dwellings of Jacob;" that is, the tents or the habitations of his people: though these hc delights in, and they are fixed by him, Prov. viii. 31. yet it is in subordination to the glorious designs of his grace to them as his chosen. Toroio
« Ver. 3. “Glorious things are spoken of thee, O citx of God."]-Namely, of her foundation, which is the person and righteousness of Christ; of her gates, which are praise; of her walls, wbich are salvation; of the ordinances which are administered within her gates, which are glorious; of the word of God, which is a testimony of his everlasting love to ber, which is glorious in its nature and properties; likewise there is the glorious redemption by the blood of Christ, and the latter day glory, which are spoken of in the sacred word, and the privileges and immunities which are settled upon the charch, the city of God. nj Ver. 7. “ All my springs are in thee."]-These words are to be understood of the church speaking of her happi. ness and consolation in the Lord, that all ber springs of hope, joy, life, and comfort, derive their source from Christ, who is a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters and streams from Lebanon. O how happy is that soul that views all its happiness in Christ, and enjoys its springs of supplies from him !
The mercies which Zion is encouraged to hope for in the foregoing psalın,
were not to be obtained without the lowest humiliations of his glorious head. Of this the following psalm very awfully reminds us, in that it again calls us to listen (as Austin speaks) to the voice of Christ; wliose blessed Spirit led the prophet here to represent ( as far as words can represent) those noknown agonies and terrors which made his sonl exceeding sorrowful, even unto death; while yet his disciples, “his lovers and friends," forsook him and Aed. Children of wrath, aud dead in trespasses and sios, we were; and such we had for ever
remaived, if his intercessions and sufferings had not been accepted. Behold the moving words in which he pleads, ver. 10–12. “Wilt thon do wonders for the dead?" the poor dead souls of Adam's chil. dren? What can be done for them, if they still remain such? Will their destruction tell thy truth, in performing the promise of one that should “ bruise the serpent's head?"
VER. 3. “ For my soul is full of troubles.”]-This may be truly applied to Christ, who himself said when in the garden, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death," Matt. xxvi. 38. He was a man of sorrows all bis days, but especially at that time, and when upon the cross, forsaken by bis Father, and sustaining bis wrath : his soul was then filled with evil things, as the words may be rendered : “ Innumerable evils compassed bim about," Psalm xl. 12. tbe sins of his people, those evil things, were imputed to him; the iniquity of them all was laid upon him, as was also the evil of punishment for them; and then he found trouble and sorrow.
Ver. 7." And thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves."]—The afflictions of God's people are compared to waves and billows of the sea, which are many, and come one upon the back of another, and threaten to overwhelm and sink; see Psalm xlii, 7. and so the sufferings of Christ are signified by waters coming in to him, and floods overflowing bim; and hence they are called a baptism, Psalm Ixix. 1, 2. Luke xii. 50. and these were brougbt upon bim by the Lord; he spared bim not; he laid the whole chastisement, all the punisbment due to the sins of his people, on him; he caused every wave to come upon him, and him to endure all sorrows and sufferings the law and justice of God could require.
Ver. 8. “ I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.")This may be applied to Christ, when in the hands of Judas, and the band of soldiers with him, who took him and bound him, and led him to the bigb priest; and when he was encompassed with bulls of Bashan, and enclosed by the assembly of the wicked, as bc bung on the cross, Psalm xxii. 12, 16.
Ver. 10. " Shall the dead arise and praise thee! Selah.”]-Considering them as the words of Christ, he suggests that none of the above things would be done unless he was a conqueror over death and the grave, and was raised from thence himselt'; and so these expostulations carry in them the nature of a prayer, even of the prayer of Cbris,
as man, to be assisted in overcoming all his enemies, and to be raised from the dead.
Ver. 12. “ Shall thy wonders he known in the dark?"] -A description of the grave; see Job x. 21, 22. The sense may be, should he continue in the dark and silent grave, how would the wonders of the grace of God, of electing, redeeming, justifying, pardoning and adopting grace, be made known; the wonders of Christ's person and offices, and the wondrous things and doctrines of the gospel relating thereunto; as the glory of these would be eclipsed, there would be none to publish them.
Ver. 15. “Wbile I suffer thy terrors."]_Or bear them; which the saints, wben left of God, have some dreadful apo prehensions of: sucb were the terrors of the Lord, the Mesa siab endured, when in a view of the sins of his people being laid upon him, and of the wrath of God coming on him for them, his sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling to the ground, Luke xxii. 44. Psalm xviii. 4, 5.
“I am distracted.”]-Not out of his mind, deprived of his senses, but amazed, astonished, or troubled: which agrees with John xii. 27. Matt. xxvi. 38. as he must needs be, when bis enemies surrounded him, the sins of his peo. ple were upon hin, the sword of justice awaked against him, and the wrath of God on bim.
Ver. 16. " Thy fierce wrath goeth over me."-Or wraths, burning wraib, the whole of divine wrath, in all its fierceness, due to the sins of bis people : these, like tbe mighty waves of the sea passed over him, threatening to overwhelm him, Psalm lxxxix. 38.
" Thy terrors have cut me off.]–From the land of the living, as the Messiah was, and in a judicial way, though not for any sin of his own, Isaiah liji. 8. Dan. ix. 26.
Ver. 17. " They came round about me daily like water.”-That is, the terrors of the Lord, the sorrows of death and hell, Psalm xviii. 4, 5. This was the Messiah's case, wben it was with him as expressed, Psalın lxix. i. 2.
The prophet is here celebrating those everlasting mercies of the Lord, which
he promised in that mighty One, on whom (being made perfect by sufferings, as foretold in the foregoing, and several others of these prophetic hymns) he has laid help ; setting his dominion in the sea, and his right hand in the floods; making him King of kings, and Lord of
lords, and a high one to the kings of the earth, ver. 1-30. The cor. rections however, and the visitations of his seed, the charch, the low estate of it in the latter days, and the quick decay of that zealous piety which was the glory of christianity in the first ages, are here also (under the figure of shortening the days of his youtis) pointed at, ver. 31–46. And then the mighty one, the gracious Mediator himself, is introduced, interceding on its behalf, and complaining of scoffers, ia words which shew, that he is the David who is the subject of the whole psalm, or whom it celebrates as a mighty one, luigher than the kings of the earth.
VER, 1. “ I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever."]-Which some render the graces, kindnesses, good nesses, and designs the abundance of grace; as in the heart of God, in the covenant, in the hands of Christ, as displayed through bim, and in the several parts of salvation, and the whole of it: and these are a proper subject for a song; and a truly gracious soul, sensible of these things, thankful for them, cheerful on account of them, and sensible of his inte. rest in them, cannot but sing of them, and will determine to do it for ever, every day, and all the day long, as long as he lives, and which he will do to all eternity.
Ver. 2. “ Mercy shall be built up for ever." 7- The phrase denotes the perpetuity of the mercy of God; it endures for ever; it is from everlasting to everlasting: moreover, this may be said to be done when saints are rooted and grounded in the love, grace, and mercy of God, and are built up in Christ, and established in him, in whom this mercy is displayed; and when the church of God in general, which is a monument of mercy, and which, Ibough it may decay, and fall into ruins shall be raised up again and rebuilt, and the head-stone brought in with acclamations of God's grace unto it: now, because mercy would be such a noble and lasting structure, therefore the psalmist determines to sing of the mercies of God for ever.
Ver. 3. “I bave made a covenant with my chosen.") Not with Abraham, but mystical David, the Messiah, David's son, and antity pe, after called David in scripture, Ezek. xxxiv, 23, 24, Hos. iii. 5. and wbo is the Lord's chosen one, fore-ordained to be the Redeemer of lost sinners, chosen to be the Mediator between God and them, to be the Head of the church, and Saviour of the body; and his human nature was chosen to the grace of union to the Son of God, ver. 19. “ bence he is called God's elect," Isaiah xlii. 1. and with him the covenant of grace was made from all eternity, and all the blessings and promises of it were put