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5. We learn to guard against all rash and hasty conclusions, and especially such as may impeach the faithfulness of God. Good men are ready to fall into this temptation ; to say things, even of God himself, in their haste, which afterwards they deeply repent of, and which gives them much concern and grief. Let us keep the pas. sions of fear, sorrow, and anger, in due bounds; trust a faithful, unchanging God, and persevere in serving him and hoping in him, however heavy our afflictions, or gloomy our apprehensions may be, Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.

PSALM XXXII. [A Psalm) of David, Maschil, which signifies giving instruction, by

shewing how to be happy.

This fisalm was probably composed after his sin in the matter of

Uriah. IRLESSED [is he whose] transgression [is] forgiven,

D [whose) sin [is] covered, so as not lo rise up to condemn 2 him. Blessed [is] the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not

iniquity, that is, chargeth it not to his account, so as to punish him for it, and in whose spirit [there is) no guile ; whose repeni.

ance is sincere, and whose conduct is suitable. He then adds from 3 his own cxperience, When I kept silence, when I concealed my

sins, and did not confess them and repent of them, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long; I was filled with

inward agony, which weakened my strength, and brought on me 4 the decays of age. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon

me ; it was thy hand that impressed those terrors upon me : my moisture is turned into the drought of summer ; my body was

parched and consumed like grass in the height of summer. Selah. 5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not

hid ; therefore I fully resolved, though guilt and shame had long kept me at a distance, to pour out my complaint to God; I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD ; and thou for gavest the iniquity of my sin ; I had no sooner formed the resoa

lution, than thou wast graciously pleased to accept of it, and gave 6 me the tokens of relurning mercy. Selah. For this, because thou

hast pardoned my sin, shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found : surely in the floods of great waters, in time of the greatest troubles and dangers, they shall not come nigh unto him, to hurt him : since under such

guilt as mine the encouragement is so great, much more shall it be 7 so under other troubles. Thou (art] my hiding place ; thou

shalt preserve me from trouble ; thou art so entirely reconciled to me, that I can now triumph in thy firotection; thou shalt compass

me about with songs of deliverance; I shall have reason for

many songs of praise, and my brethren shall join with me in them, & Selah. I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which

thou shalt go : I will guide thee with mine eye ; I will give

thee counsel from my own experience, and have an eye upon thee 9 that thou dost not go astray, only be willing to be instructed. Be

ye not as the horse, (or) as the mule, (which] have no understanding : whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee; do not follow your appetites, and

be untractable, when God would by afflictions bring you to your 10 duty. Many sorrows (shall be] to the wicked: but he that

trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about; he shall

not only be secured by providence, but be enriched with abundance 11 of blessings. Therefore Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye

righteous, though ye may be in affliction ; and shout for joy, all [ye that are] upright in heart, because you have the blessedness of being pardoned, and shall finally be victorious over every enemy and every tribulation.

REFLECTIONS.

1. T ROM hence we learn the folly of sin ; what a burden it

T brings upon the mind, and into what distress and perplexity it is thrown by it. What a gloomy state must David's mind have been in ! full of agony, yet silent in that agony. This is often the case with sinners; they are conscious of guilt, yet keep silence ; they stiffe convictions, and endeavour to divert their minds by company and amusements, seeking rest, and finding none. Into such circumstances may a good man be brought, if he falls into sin. Wherefore let him that standeth, take heed lest he fall.

2. We are taught, the wisdom of repentance. It is the only way to obtain pardon, and the surest way to comfort. David, in the ex. pression of not imputing iniquity, seems to intimate, that all mankind are in a guilty state, and that no man is blessed but he to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity. Oh that this might be a notive to all sinners to repent, to confess their iniquity with deep humility, shame, and sorrow, and earnestly to entreat divine forgiveness. They have great encouragement to do this, because God is ready to par. don, to take off the load of guilt and grief. But then let them see to it, that their repentance be sincere, that they do not trifle and prevaricate with God ; confessing and lamenting those sins which they do not design to part with. If there be guile in the spirit, there can be no forgiveness ; but if we confess and forsake our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all una righteousne88.

3. Those who have received signal mercies from God, should do what they can to instruct, comfort and edify others. David tells us his experience of the smart of sin, and the pleasures of forgiveness and obedience. Let pardoned souls exhort sinners to repent, and animate them to it by a consideration of the grace of God mani. fested to them; and let christians excite one another to love and to good works ; to prayer, and faith in God, by mutual information of the dealings of God with their souls. Thus they will strengthen each others hands in God.

4. See the wide difference there is between the righteous and the wicked. The righteous may be perplexed and troubled ; but they have a hiding place in God, and mercy shall compass them about. But let the wicked be at present ever so prosperous and merry, many sorrows shall be to them ; they are like the horse and the mule, hurried by appetite and passion, untaught and unhumbled. They may at length have their spirits broken by affliction; or, if they pass through life without it, their end is sorrow and destruction. Let the wicked then forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and turn unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him. But let the righteous hold on his way, and the foods of deep waters chall not come nigh him.

PSALM XXXIII.

Some suppose this psalm was composed by David in his advanced age, when his neighbouring enemies were subdued, as he calls upon his people to join with him in praising God.

I D EJOICE in the LORD, O ye righteous, you are under peculiar

I obligations to it; (for) praise is comely for the upright; there is a beautiful agreement between the language of praise and 2 your general conduct. Praise the Lord with harp : sing unto

him with the psaltery (and) an instrument of ten strings; make 3 use of those instruments to express and excite religious joy. Sing

unto him a new song, for his new mercies, and with new and 4 lively affections ; play skilfully with a loud noise. For the word

of the LORD (is) right ; his revealed word is true and righteous ;

and all his works [are done] in truth ; are correspondent to 5 his nature and will. He loveth righteousness and judgment,

and always practises them : the earth is full of the goodness of

the LORD: his mercy abounds in every part of it, else strict juc6 tice would turn it into a heap of confusion. By the word of the

LORD, his single almighty word, were the heavens made ; and

all the host of them, all the heavenly bodies, were formed by the 7 breath of his mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea 10

gether as an heap ; he shows how powerful he is, by separating the sea from the dry land, and curling a channel for the waters : he layeth up the depth in storehouses ; though they stand on an hean as high as the land, yet they are kepi, as in a storehouse, from

overflowing it; they cannot pass beyond their bounds. Therefore 3 Let all the earth, which is encompassed with these wonderful dis

plays of his power, fear the LORD : let all the inhabitants of the

• 9 world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was (dóne ;]

he commanded, and it stood fast; an allusion to God's saying,

Let there be light, and there was light ;' all was done at a wurd speaking, and continues firm and unmoveable. He then firoceeds

to the moral world, and there also he needs but speak the word, and 10 the event shall answer his pleasure. The LORD bringeth the

counsel of the heathen to nought : he maketh the devices of the people of none effect ; he either gives them up to a series of wrong thoughts and schemes, or, when the wisest plans are laid, he

disconcerts them, by bringing about such events as their greatest Il wisdom could not foresee. The counsel of the LORD standeth

for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations ; nothing 12 can frustrate his counsels, or break his schemes. Blessed [is]

the nation whose God [is] the LORD ; [and] the people (whom]

he hath chosen for his own inheritance; Israel, his peculiar preo13 ple and inheritance, are happy under his care. The LORD look14 eth from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. From the

place of his habitation he looketh upon, discerns the actions and 15 thoughts of all the inhabitants of the earth. He fashioneth their

hearts alike; he has made human nature in the same manner ; or, God presides over the thoughts of men, and influences them as he

pleases ; he considereth all their works; he knows and can de. 16 feat their deepest plots. There is no king saved by the multi

tude of an bost: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength

when God determines otherwise ; David, though a great warrior, 17 depended only upon God. An horse [is] a vain thing for safety : 18 neither shall he deliver (any) by his great strength.* Behold,

the eye of the LORD, his watchful providence and favour, which is better than all military preparations, [is] upon them that fear

him, not with a servile, slavish fear ; therefore he adds, upon 19 them that hope in his mercy ; To deliver their soul from death,

and to keep them alive in famine ; 10 do that for them which all 20 human skill and strength cannot do. Our soul waitheth for the 91 LORD: he (is) our help and our shield. For our heart shall re22 joice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Let

thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee. In this comprehensive prayer he appeals to an omniscient God for the sincerity of their fait) in him, and declares, they could desire no greater mercy than what they firmly hoped for.

REFLECTIONS.

1.T ET us learn from hence to abound in praise ; and observe

I what tends to excite it, namely, the perfections of God as displayed in the works of nature, the conduct of Providence, and his dispensations to his people ; the ease with which universal nature was formed, the firmness of his ordinances, and espicially that the

• The Israeliras were forbidden to use horses in war, to keep them dependent on God' only. David inculcates this; he had no dependence upon them without God, much less whea he had forbidden the use of them. Vol. IV.

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earth is so full of his goodness. It is a pity it should be so empty of his praise. Let us praise him in the best manner we are able ; do it skilfully, with our voice and our heart; with a loud voice, like those who have their hearts in the work : an admonition that many reed in our public assemblies. Let us reflect upon this psalm of ten in this view, that we may know what to do it for, and how to do it acceptably.

2. We may rejoice in the immutability of the divine counsels, ·and the certain success of all his schemes. He baffles the devices of men when they are most wisely formed; but his own can never be frustrated, nor the execution of them be obstructed." A pleasing thought this, when we consider that all his schemes are for the benefit of his church and people. Let us stand in awe of this glo. rious Being, who hath such amazing power, and against whom there is no wisdom nor understanding, nor device that shall prosper.

. 3. Let us reflect on the universal influence of God on the hearts of men ; that he can turn and fashion them as he pleases. He knows all their schemes, and can divert their thoughts so as shall be most contrary to their own former views, and to the expectations of all about them. The hearts of princes and kings are as much under his influence as those of the meanest subjects: this is a great satisfaction amidst national confusion, or fearful apprehensions. It is a great comfort to ministers in their work, that God knows how to reach and turn those hearts which seem proof against all their admonitions, entreaties, and motives. This also shows the reasona. bleness and expediency of prayer for any blessing or comfort we want, and which may depend on the hearts and inclinations of men, that God can overrule all for our good.

4. We are taught to seek his protection and assistance in all our private and public concerns. No king is saved by the multitude of an host ; horses, soldiers, ships, are all vain things without God. Let us then wait for the Lord; observe his providence, accommodate ourselves to it, and endeavour to cherish a lively faith in him. Then, however he may deal with nations, here is our comfort, that the cye of the Lord is upon them ihat fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy.

PSALM XXXIV. (A Psalm] of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abim

elech,* | Sam. ii. 13. who drove him away, and he departed. David fled to Achish for security from Saul's attempts ; the courtiera

of Achish representing him as a dangerous man, he feigned himself mad, and 80 escaped the snaré. This 18alm is addressed 10 the soldiers who shared his fortune. It is an alphabetical psalın, rach versc beginning with the several letters of the Hebrero alphabet in order.

! I WILL bless the Lord at all times, for this miraculous deliv.

1 erance among others; his praise (shall) continually (be) in

• This king's name was Achish, but his title was Abimelech, u sich was a common name for the kings of the Pbilistince, as Pharaoh was for the kings of Egypt.

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