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to “keep the commandments of his God.” He who hath formed David's resolution, must, like him, disclaim and renounce the society of “evil-doers;” for every man will insensibly contract the good or bad qualities of the company which he keeps; and should, therefore, be careful to keep such as will make him wiser and better, and fit him for the goodly fellowship of saints and angels. * * * 116. Uphold me according to thy word, that I may live : and let me not be ashamed of my hope. 117. Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually. A resolution to fly from evil, and to do good, is properly followed by an earnest and repeated prayer, to be “upheld” in the performance of it, by divine grace, “according to God's word” and promise ; that so our “hope” in that word may not fail, and put us to “shame” before our enemies; that we may be “saved” from falling, and enabled, in our walking, to have “respect unto the divine statutes con“tinually.” How necessary is this prayer to be made by creatures, whose tempers and dispositions are ever varying; who have so many and so formidable adversaries to contend with, and on whom their temporal condition hath so much influence 1 118. Thow hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood. The dreadful judgements which God, from time to time, in all ages of the world, hath executed, and which he still can and will execute, upon impenitent sinners, afford a kind of admonition, and a powerful motive, to obedience. As no force can counteract
the power of God, so no “cunning” can deceive his wisdom, but will always, in the end, miserably “deceive” those who trust in it, and employ it against the counsels of heaven; “their deceit, or “subtility, is falsehood,” "pw, it will fail, and ruin its owners. Of this, history furnisheth instances in abundance. And it will be evident to all the world, when simplicity and innocence shall reign triumphant with the Lamb, on mount Sion; and deceit and guile shall have their portion with the serpent, in the lake of fire.
119. Thou puttest away all the ungodly of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies.
“ Ungodly” men and hypocrites are mingled among the sons and servants of God, as “dross” is blended with the pure metal, and appeareth to be part of it. But the fiery trial of divine judgement soon discovereth the difference. The false pretences of the hypocrite are detected, and the glory of the wicked vanisheth away. These dispensations of God's providence increase our “love” of his “word;" because they give us sensible experience of its truth, they show us the justice of God in punishing others, together with his mercy in sparing us, and removing those who might have corrupted us and turned the silver itself into dross. In times of visitation, Christ sitteth among his people “ as a refiner and purifier “of silver,” purging away all dross, that out of what remains may be made “vessels of honour, meet for “the Master's use” to serve and to adorn the sanctuary. See Mal. iii. 3. Isa, i. 25. 2 Tim. ii. 21.
120. My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgements.
At the presence of Jehovah, when he appeareth in judgement, the earth trembleth and is still. His best servants are not exempted from an awful dread upon such occasions; scenes of this kind, shown in vision to the prophets, caused their flesh to quiver, and all their bones to shake. Encompassed with a frail body, and a sinful world, we stand in need of every possible tie; and the affections both of fear and love must be employed, to restrain us from transgression ; we must, at the same time, “love “God’s testimonies, and fear his judgements.”
121. I have done judgement and justice : leave me not to mine oppressors.
He who is engaged in a righteous cause, and hath acted uprightly in the support of it, may, so far, without incurring the censure of boasting, or trusting to his own righteousness, make David's plea, “I have done judgement and justice;” as if he had said, Thou, O my God, knowest that I am innocent of the crimes whereof my implacable enemies accuse me, and that I have done no wrong to those who seek to take away my life; deliver not thine injured servant, therefore, into their hands; “ leave me not “to mine oppressors.” The Son of David might use the words in their full and absolute sense, and plead for a glorious resurrection, on the foot of his having performed a perfect obedience to the law.
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122. Be surely for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me. The Psalmist finding himself ready to be seized by his insolent adversaries, hike a helpless and insolvent debtor, entreateth the Almighty to appear in his defence, to take the matter into his own hands, to interpose and plead his cause, as his surety and advocate, in the day of trouble. Good Hezekiah uses the same word in the same sense, speaking of the time when death was about to make his claim upon the mortal part of him ; “O Lord, I am op“pressed, only, undertake, be surety for me:” Isa. xxxviii. 14. Happy the creatures, whose Creator is their surety, and hath interposed to rescue them from those great oppressors, sin, death, and Satan : 123. Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness. Salvation, whether temporal or spiritual, may be delayed; the “eyes” of the sufferer may “fail with looking upward, and his earnest expectation may be ready to break forth, in the words of Sisera's mother, “Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why tarry “the wheels of his chariot *" But what saith God, by his prophets and apostles P “Though it tarry, “wait for it, because it will surely come:” Hab. ii. 3. “ Yet a little while, and he that shall come, “will come:” Heb. x. 37. The “word” which hath promised it, is the word of truth, faithfulness, and “righteousness;” the attributes of God are engaged for its accomplishment, and he cannot deny himself. 124. Deal with thy servant according unto thy
mercy, and teach me thy statutes. 125. I am thy servant: give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies. The consideration, that we are the “servants” of God, if indeed we are so, will always be successfully urged to the best of masters, as an argument why he should “deal with us according to his mercy,” in the pardoning of our offences; “teach as his statutes,” that we may know and do his will; and instruct us in his “testimonies,” that we may believe aright coneerming him. - 126. It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law. The “ law” of God “ is made void” by those who deny its authority, or its obligation; by those who render it of none effect through their traditions, or their lives. When a deluge of wickedness and impiety entering at these gates, hath overwhelmed a land, “it is time for the Lord to work;” the great lawgiver will then exert his power, and vindicate his authority speedily. There is a certain measure of iniquity, which when communities, or individuals respectively, have filled up, the destroying angel comes forth, and executes his commission. How ought a man to fear, lest the next sin he commits should fill up his measure, and seal his eternal doom 127. Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. . As the wickedness of those increaseth who “ make void the divine law,” the zeal and “ love” of believers should increase in proportion, to stem the torrent; and this may be done to a surprising degree,