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4 shall execute severe vengeance among them. Who have said,
With our tongue will we prevail against David, and the cause of tru'h and virtue ; we shall set Saul and the people against him by our slanders ; our lips (are) our own, to speak what we please :
who [is] lord over us, to call us to account for what we say ? $ For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy,
now will I arise, saith the LORD ; I will set [him] in safety
(from him that) puffeth at him ; that speaks of him as seornfully 6 as if he could blow him away with his breath.f The words of
the LORD (are) pure words, not false and treacherous, like theirs : [as] silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times ; which iș purified from earth and dross many times over, till it is guite pure and unmired. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them, that is, the pious poor and oppressed, from this generation for ever ; from this wicked generation as long as they are assaulted by malice and cunning. With this hope he encuurages
himself, though things were bad at present ; and he urges it as a 8 plea why God should arise and help speedily ; for The wicked walk on every side when the vilest men are exalted ; the wicked walk proudly and without fear, you may meet them wherever you go, while base and wicked men are exalted to be governors and magistrates.
1. W E have great reason to lament that the character, · VV which is here described, suits our own days and circumstances so much : a general decay of piety and honesty, which naturally stand or fall together. It is to be feared that many of our courtiers are too much like Saul's ; they apeak with flattering. lins, and a double heart, make no conscience of lying ; and often promise when they never intend to perform. It were well if such infamous practices were confined to the court ; but a general licentiousness of the tongue, is too much the character of our country. With confidence and insolence men say what they please ; profane the name of God, the most High : and deceive, reproach, and slander their neighbours. This ought to be lamented; and we have great reason to fear the continuance of divine judgments, because our tongues and our doings cannot please the Lord.
2. Let us guard against this iniquity in ourselves. In speculation we think it wrong to speak falsely and to deceive ; and should perhaps resent it if it were practised on ourselves. Let us then resolutely keep our own tongues from speaking ovil, and our lips from guile. Let us abhor to speak proud and insolent things, even to the meanest ; and especially guard against speaking with a double heart,
• Perhaps there is an allusion here to a custom in the eastern nations of cutting off the tongue or lip of those who had spoken treasonable of seditious words.
God is here introduced as speaking when David was writing these words. He looked opon it ai prielation which God then made to him, and not merely as the suggestion of his own mild, and what he by a figure put into the mouth of the Lord : as he iininediately acelares his faith in it ; This Cod hath said, and I will triumph in it.
against flattery, and excessive compliments ; which lead men to make light of truth and integrity. We ought to remember that our tongues are not our own; nor are we at liberty to speak what we please. There is a Lord over us, who hears and remembers our words, and will call us to account for them : by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be judged. If any, man among you seemeth to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, that man's religion is vain.
3. Let us remember the purity and certainty of God's words. He is not a man, that he should lie or be deceived ; his declarations are true, and his promises are faithful ; he neither imposes upon us, nor jests with us. The words of men are not always to be relied upon, but God's words are. All his promises shall be fulfilled ; and we should particularly encourage ourselves, with those which relate to the happiness of his faithful servants, for not one word shall fail.
4. We are here taught our duty in degenerate times ; that is, deeply to lament the want of honesty and piety, and earnestly to seek God's help, when honest and pious men are scarce ; when they die, or abate in their zeal. When godly and faithful men, who should and would lend a hand to support the cause of God and religion, die, it is time to cry, Help, Lord. Let good men rejoice in his protection ; he will keep them from being destroyed and corrupted ; keep them from this crooked and perverse generation ; yea keep them for ever. The Lord will deliver them from every cuil work, and preserve them to his heavenly kingdom.
To the chief musician, A Psalm of David.
It was probably penned during his persecution by Saul, as that con.
tinued the longest : and the pisalm intimates that he had been a considerable time, in circumstances of distress. I L OW long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever ? how
11 long wilt thou hide thy face from me ? He complains thuc his deliverance was so long delayed, that God seemed to have for
gotten him and hid his face from him, as men turn away their fuce 2 from those whose petitions they will not grant. How long shall
I take counsel in my soul, change my purposes, and perplex myself with one contrivance afier another, and all in vain, (having) sorrow in my heart daily ? how long shall mine enemy be ex. alted over nie? so exalled that I continually frar destruction, and 3 know not where to turn myself for help. Consider (and) hear ine,
O LORD my God : lighten mine eyes ; endue me with wisdom and circumspection to avoid the dangers that besdi me, and give nie refreshment in 1.4 8:irits by dilivering mo';'lest slopina
4 sleep) of death ; Lest mine enemy should say, I have prevailed
against him : [and] those that trouble me rejoice when I am
moved ; their boasts will dishonour thy name, and grieve thy fresa · ple. Then, by a surprizing turn of language, he expresses a theer. 5 ful confidence in God. But I have trusted in thy mercy ; my
heart shall rejoice in thy salvation, that is, in the assurance I
have that thou wilt appear for me, and in due time deliver me. 6 I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully
with me; he hath done so in former instances, and especially be cause he hath given me such promises and assurances of delivere ance and salvation, as I know will at length be accomplished.
INTE may here reflect on the melancholy condition of a
VV person under dejection of spirit. This is a mournful circumstance, especially when it arises from any apprehension of the displeasure of God, and being rejected of him. This was Da. vid's case, and has been the case of many good men. When this affliction is long continued, it is a very dreadful one ; anxiety and impatience are apt to arise, and despair of relief to fill the soul with exquisite distress. If a good man may be thus afflicted, what have not the wicked to fear! How sad must their case be, whom God has utterly forgotten, and from whom he will hide his face for coer.
2. Let the afflicted servants of God continue in prayer. This is the best relief under trouble, and the sure way of obtaining support and deliverance. It is some ease to a burdened and dejected spirit to communicate its grief to a faithful and tender friend ; but a much greater ease to pour out its complaints before the Lord ; who knows the depth of its distress ; who tenderly pities, and is able to help. We should never allow ourselves in any complaints, but such as are fit to be presented to the Lord ; nor ever despair, while there is a way open to the throne of grace.
. 3. We here see what should be our plea in prayer when we art afflicted ; namely, the mercy of God, as displayed in his works, and especially in the scheme of redemption by Christ Jesus. He is a merciful Being, he has therefore wise and kind designs in afflicting us ; and will continue our troubles no longer than they are needful. Let us also, with David, plead former experiences of his power and goodness ; recollect the instances in which he hath dealt bountifully with us ; and endeavour to maintain a lively faith in his righteousness and fidelity ; for the Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in them that hope in his mercy.
PSALM XIV. '.
Probably composed during Absalom's rebellion ; which was a time of
great and general degeneracy. He calls the Israelites his people ; and represents them as comparatively in a captive state : and speaks
of Zion as the residence of God, which it was not till after David . was king.
THE fool hath said in his heart, (There is) no God; he
1 does not believe there is a God, or that he is governor of the world. When this principle prevails, no wonder it follows that - they are corrupt, they have done abominable works, (there is) 1 none that doeth good; the greater part of the nation were degen.
erate, corrupt in their principles, and licentious in their morals. ,2 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, - to see if there were any that did understand, [and] seek God;
to see how they behaved themselves upon this occasion, and whether
they would, by shewing fidelity to me, prove their religious regard 3 to him; but to their shame I must add, They are all gone aside, they are (all) together become filthy : (there is) none that do
eth good, no, not one ; the greater part of the nation are become 4 abominable in his sight, there is scarce one that doeth good. Have
all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my peo· ple (as]4hey eat bread, and call not upon the LORD, have the
principle managers of this revolt no knowledge ? The meaning is Do not these traitors know that to gratify their ambition they are preying upon my people, taking measures that will end in weaken
ing and ruining them, and yet act without remorse ? care not what .. becomes of the deluded people ? Irreligion is the source of all this, 5 the cause of all their treachery and inhumanity : yet There were
they in great fear ; I question not their hearts misgave them ; methinks I see them defeated and full of the horrors of conscience: for God [is] in the generation of the righteous, to assist, comfort,
and deliver them. I am confident of this, thorigin they would con. 6 ceal it, and put on insolent airs. Ye bave sbamed the counsel of
the poor, because he had nothing but his friety to trust 10 ; mocking him for his confidence in God ; because the LORD [is] his rea fuge ; or rather, although the Lord is his helper. He then expresses a strong degree of faith, and expects deliverance from Zi
on, though that at present was the chief seat of the rebels, but he 7 knew the ark was there, that the salvation of Israel (were
come] out of Zion ! when the LORD bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, (and) Israel shall be glad :he compares their present deluded state to a capiivity with great propriety and beauty ; when they are delivered from it, Jaccb shall rejoice, and Israel be glad; though now they oppose me with 80 much heat, they will be glad at my restoration. Probably many VOL. IV.
joined with Absalom through artifice or fear, who were in their hearts with David ; and they and others would rejoice to have these disturbances cease, and their lawful monarch on the throne.
REFLECTIONS. 1. W e should labour to be confirmed in the belief of the be
VV ing, perfections, and providence of God. This is the great foundation of religion. Some fools in David's time said, there is no God : and none but fools would say so. Even they could scarce believe this, but said it in their hearts; and rather wished it was so, than believed it. May we guard against every thought which would lead us to disown God, or forget him! Let us study his works and his word ; then we shall have the clearest proof of his being and overruling providence. And as we cannot but believe the being of a God, let us be careful we are not like those, who though they profess to know God, yet, in works deny him.
2. Let us lament the depravity and corruption of human nature, in that any should deny the most evident principles, and practise the most wicked and mischievous deeds. The apostle quotes part of this psalm in Rom. iji. 10. to prove the degeneracy of the Jews, and to shew that on many accounts they were no better than tite gentiles, being alike under sin, and incapable of being justified before God by their own righteousness. It is a lamentable case, but deserveś seriously to be considered, and considered with self application, that we none of us perfectly do good, no not one ; and therefore must seek pardon, and be justified in the gospel way, or be without it for ever. And till our hearts are deeply impressed with this thought, the gospel will never be welcome to our souls.. . 3. Let us rejoice in God, as the refuge of his people, however their counsels may be shamed. The licentious and free thinkers in these days, may say like those in David's time, there is no God, and ridicule those who reverence him and trust in him; and a more vile, wretched character there cannot be, than he who laughs at religion, weakens the regards of others to it, and endeavours to put to shame their counsel, dependence, and hope. But let none of these things move up; God is in the generation of the righteous, however men may treat them; and he will appear to be their refuge, and at last their exceeding great reward. It is a righteous thing with God to render tribulalion to them that trouble and ridicule his people, and to them who are troubled, he will render everlasting rest.
4. How melancholy is it to reflect, that this whole description so naturally suits the present state of our country. Corrupt principles and morals prevail among ug; christianity is despised, and religion neglected by many, and abominable works are done in the midst of us. I fear we may justly say of many of those that are, or have been, or would be, ministers of state, Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge ? Do they never consider that the nation is suffering, and the people are deroured, while they are indulging their own