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Here the prophet David is personating his great root and offspring Christ;
who by his mouth is declaring, in most awful words, the manner of his walking or governing of his household, the church; the qualifications also of those whom he will own as his servants, and his resolution to root out all evil doers from the city of the Lord, as a fruit of his love to his church.
VER. 1. “ I will sing of mercy and judgment.") Judgment sometimes signifies chastisement, Jer. x. 24. 1 Cor. xi. 32. but here it may be understood of Christ, who sang of the mercy of God, as shewn in the mission of him into the world to save men, and which was glorified in their redemption by bim; and of the justice of God exercised on him, as tbeir surety, on whom judgment came unto condemnation for their sins; and when the sword of justice was awakcd against him, the hand of mercy was turned on tbe little ones, Zech. xiii. 7. “ Unto thee, O Lord, will I sing ;" on the above subjects.
Ver. 2. “I will behave myself wisely, in a perfect way."]—This seems most applicable to Christ, wbo, as it was prophecied he should, so he did “ deal prudently," or behave wisely, Isaiah lii. 13. where the same word is used as here; and this is true of Christ, throughout the whole of his life : in his infancy when but twelve years of age ; in his public ministry, in his conduct towards all men ; in bis answers to the ensnaring questions of his enemies; in his behaviour at his apprehension, arraignment, condemnation, and crucifixion; and this to perfection, so as that the least fault could not be found in bim.
In the beginning of this psalm, ver. 1-11, the church, as one destitate and
afflicted, is represented, bewailing ber calamitous state in those latter days, for which the psalm declares itself to be wrote. Then the prophet, speaking in his own person, foretels, ver. 19-22. that the Lord will certainly hear the prayer of this poor destitute, building up Zion, and loosing the sons of death. After which the poor destituie seems to speak again, complaining that her strength (ibat is, the vigorous life of her youth in the beginnings of christianity) was wasted, and begging that she may not be cut off in the midst of ber years, but have her children dwelling before the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. For it is clear the psalm has a reference to the days of the Messiah, and speaks either of his afflictions, or the afflictions of his church for his sake.
VER. 10. “ For thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down.")-When God first calls his people by his grace, be raises them from a low estate, lifts them up out of a horrible pit, takes them from the dunghill, sets them among princes to inherit the throne of glory; when he comforts them with the consolations of his Spirit, he is the lister up of their heads; when be grants his presence, and lists up the light of his counlenance; when he discovers his love, and makes their mountain to stand strong; when he shews them their interest in himself, as their covenant God, in Christ, as their Redeemer and Saviour, and grants them the communion of the Holy Ghost; and when their graces are in lively exer. cise, then is it a time of lifting up; and they are cast down when corruptions prevail, when grace is weak, when God bides his face, and when afflictions lic heavy on them: this was now the case of the psalmist.
Ver. 14. ^ For thy servants take pleasure in her stoncs.”]-Mcaning the ministers of the gospel, and other christians, in the latter day, who will take pleasure in the great number of converts that there will then be, who, as lively stones, will be built up in a spiritual house; and especially when Hiose stones shall be laid with fair colours, and the bead-stone shall be brought in with acclamations, “ crying, grace, grace unto it;" 1 Pet. ii. 5. Isaiah lis. II, 12.
Ver. 17. “ He will regard the prayer of the destitute."] Of the destitute of human help and support, protection and defence; bis eyes are upon, and his ears are open to these praying ones; and all the glorious things which sball be done for the church of God, will be in consequence of his promise by their prayers.
Ver. 18." This shall be written for the generation to come.")-This-prayer is a directory to saints in distressed circumstances; or ihat which was just now said, that the Lord will regard, and not despisc ihe prayer of the desti. tute; this shall stand on record, for the encouragement of praying souls in all generations.
Ver. 25. • Of old basl thou laid the foundations of the earth.")-This shows the wisdom of God as a wise mas. ter-builder, and the stability of the earth; and is a proof of the deity of Christ, to whom these words belong; and so in Heb. i. 10. where they are applied to the Messial the
his paper in his prayinat
Son of Guil; and this, as it proves the eternity of Christ, who must be in the beginning, and before all things, so it confutes the notion of the eternity of the earth.
After the humble mouroful supplications in the foregoing psalm, the prophet
here represents that poor destitute one, the church, full of comfort, and therefore full of thankfulness to him, who always graciously accepts them, forgiving all her sins, anıl healing all her infirmities; who shewed his ways uuto Moses, and his works to the children of Israel; who is good and gracious, and even great in mercy to all that fear him; and having fixed liis throne in heaven, and being possessed of the kingdom which ruleth over all, is to be adored and praised by all, in all places of his dominion.
VER. 1-3. “ Who healeth all thy diseases."]-Not bodily ones, though the Lord is the physician of the bodies as well as of the souls of men, and sometimes heals the diseases of soul and body at once, as in the case of the pa. Talytic man in the gospel; but spiritual diseases, or soul maladies, are here meant: the same with iniquities in the preceding clause. Sin is a natural, hereditary, epidemical, nauseous, and mortal disease ; and there are many of them, a complication of tbem, in men, which God only can cure; and he heals them by his word by means of his gospel, preaching peace, pardon, and righteousness by Christ; by ihe blood, wounds, and stripes of bis Son; by the applica. tion of pardoning grace and mercy; for healing diseases, and forgiving iniquities, are one and the same thing; Isaiali xxxiii. 24. and this the Lord does freely, fully, and infal. libly, and for which thanks are due unto bim; and it would be very ungrateful, and justly resented, should they not be returned to him; Luke xvii. 15-18. ,
Ver. 4. " Who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies." ]-With all other blessings which flow from the loving-kindness and tender mercy of God, even all the blessings of the evcrlasting covenant, the sure miercies of David; all the spiritual blessings with which the saints are blessed in Christ, the grace given them in him, and the mercy kept with him for evermorc; all things per: taining to life and godliness given in regeneration; the fruits of great love and abundant mercy, with all the other supplies of grace between that and eternal glory : crowning with these, denotes an application and enjoyment of them, the great plenty and abundance of them, as also a being surrounded and loaded with them.
Ver. 5. " Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things.”]— With the good things in the heart of God, with his favour and loving-kindness, as with marrow and falness; with the good things in the bands of Christ, with the fulness of grace in him, with pardon, righteousness, and salvation by him ; with the good things of the Spirit of God, his gifts and graces; and with the provisions of the Lord's house, the goodness and fatness of it; these he shews unto his people, creates hungerings and thirstings in them after them, sets their hearts a longing after them, and then fills and satisfies them.
Ver. 7. “ He made known his ways unto Moses."]The Lord made known unto him his way of grace and mercy, life and salvation by Christ, which he desired to shew bim, and he did, Exod. xxxiii. 13, 18, 19. and xxxiv. 6, 7. Christ was made known to him, as the seed of the woman that should break the serpent's head, as God's salva. tion old Jacob waited for; he was shewn him in the types of the pássover lamb, the brazen serpent, and the rock in the wilderness, and in otber things': the way of atonement, by the sacrifice of Christ, was made known to him tbrough the sacrifices which he from God enjoined the people of Israel : hence he wrote of Christ, and of what he should do and suffer; and so fully, that the apostle Paul said no other things than what he did.
Ver. 12. “ So far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”]-This is to be understood, not of a removal of the being of sin out of his people, for that is not done in this life; rather of the removal of the guilt of sin, by a special application of pardoning grace and mercy; 2 Sam. xii, 13. Zech. iii. 4. but best of all, of a removal of sins to Cbrist, and off them by his sacrifice and satisfaction : Christ engaged as a surety for his people; Jehovah the Father considered him as such, and therefore did not impute their sins to them, but to bim; and when he sent him in the likeness of sinful flesh, he removed them from them, and laid them upon him; who voluntarily took them on bimself, cheerfully bore them, and by bearing them, removed the iniquity of the land in one day; and carried them away to the greatest distance, and even put them away for ever by the sacrifice of himself, and the satisfaction he gave to divine justice; the Lord removed tbem both from him and them, justified and acquitted him, and his people in him: and by this means so effectually, and so far are their transgressions removed, that they shall never be seen any more, nor ever be imputed to them, nor be brought against them to their condemnation ; in consequence of which, pardon is. applied to them, and so sin is removed from their consciences, Lev. xvi. 21, 22. Zech. iii. 9.
Ver. 13. “ Like as a father pitieth his children.”] When in any affliction, disorder, or distress: the Lord stands in the relation of a father to his people; they are bis children by adopting grace, through the covenant of grace with them ; by a sovereign act of his own will, he puts them among the children, predestinates them to the adop. tion of children; and sends his Son to redeem them, that they might receive it, and his Spirit to bear witness to their spirits, that they are his children; and towards these he has all the affections of a tender parent.
Ver. 21. “ Ye ministers of his that do his pleasure."] -So the angels are called, and they do the will of God; what is acceptable to him, and well-pleasing in his sight, Heb. i. 7, 14. But rather, as distinct from them, the minisa ters of the gospel are intended ; a name which the preachers of it bear, both in the old and in the new testament, Isaiah Ixi. 4. 1 Cor. iv. 1. They are ministers of Christ's appointing, calling, qualifying, and sending; and who are employed in his service, in preaching him, his gospel, and the truths of it; and who do his pleasure, that which is grateful to him, when they speak his word faithfully, declare his wbole counsel, and keep back nothing that is profitable.
The church is here again stirred up by the Holy Ghost to praise the Lord her
God, from the consideration of his majesty, wisdom, and goodness, as displayed in his works, and that variety of creatures which he sup. ports, till they have done their work on earth, and then returns them to their native dust. But yet he will send forth his Spirit, and renew thic face of the earth, and shall rejoice in his works. Only the wicked must perish, and be seen no more on earth. The scope of this psalm is tu celebrate his greatness and majesty, and sovereign dominion, in the most stately and lofty strains of poetry. David, in the former psalm, gave God the glory of his covenant mercy and love to his own people; in this he gives him the glory of his works of creation and providence, bis dominion over, and his bounty to all the creatures,