« PreviousContinue »
pinion wicked men are fools, and righteous men wise : and so it will evidently appear at the last day; when the wicked shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.
PSALM CXIX. 11.
that I might not fin against
N this psalm we are not to
expect a very strict connexion
be intirely independent on thofe which go before and follow after: and most of them I believe will make
Very good sense by themselves, tho we should consider them without any relation to the context. Nor need we wonder at it ; since it was not David's dea sign in penning this psalm to present us with a piece of close argument and reasoning, but only to set down some pia ous and devout thoughts, just as they occurred to his mind, without taking pains to digest them into any nice order and method. It abounds in encomiums of God's word, in expressions of affection for it, in desires and resolutions of conformity to it.
In the text the psalmist declares his conduct with regard to God's word; thy word I have hid in my heart: and the reason of his doing so ; that I might not fin against tbee. By the word of God poffibly David might mean than the five books of Moses. But that should not hinder us from including more under this character, who are favour'd with a more perfect. revelation of God's will than David was, and have a much larger volume of the sacred writings. We have a great many prophets who lived after David's time: and, which crowns all, we have Christ and his apostles. Therefore if the biding
of the word of God in the heart was so excellent a preservative from fin in David's time, when it was comprized in so narrow a compass; much more is it now, when it is so much enlarged.
Let us next consider the meaning of this phrase, to hide the word of God in the heart. I think it can fignify nothing less than to have a high esteem of, and a strong affection for it, and to take delight in reading and meditating upon it. That the psalmist intends thus much by this phrase, may be collected from the 16th, 24th, 72d, and 97th verses of this psalm : I will delight myself in thy statutes ; I will not forget tby word. Thy testimonies are my delight and my counsellors. The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and filver. Oh how I love thy law ? it is my meditation all the day. From these passages it appears, that he accounted the word of God a rich and invaluable treasure, and made it the frequent subject of his study and meditation: and it seems to me as if by biding it in his heart he meant to express the same thing.
It now remains that we consider the reason of this practice; which was, that be might be kept from finning against
God. Let us therefore see what connexion there is between the study of God's word, and not fnning against him ; or what tendency such a practice has to the producing of so glorious an effect. For this purpose it will be proper to examine what it is that our bibles contain, and what they instruct us in.
I. Our bibles give us great and noble thoughts of God. They declare to us his nature and properties, and the various relations wherein he stands to us. They inform us that he is a spiritual being, eternal and omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. They teach us that he is holy and true, merciful and just. They represent him as our creator and governor, our preserver and bountiful benefactor. In a word, they paint him as a being full of majesty and full of mercy. All that is great, and all that is good, enter into the idea of God. No wonder therefore that the man who cherish es such notions as these, and frequently meditates upon the attributes and perfections of God, as he must necessarily do, if he makes it his business to study the word of God; no wonder, I say, that such a man dares not allow himself in