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21 mother's son, thy nearest relations. These things] hast thou

done, and I kept silence ; but instead of being amended by this goodness, thou thoughtest that I was altogether (such an one) as thyself ; that I had forgotten thy crimes, or had not that rectitude and abhorrence of them which I have often declared I had : (but] I will reprove thee openly, and set (them) in order before thine

eyes ; set them in battle array against thee, and so make it appear 22 that I both knew them and hate them. Now, as an inference from

the whole, consider this, ye that forget God, lest my patience be exhausted, and, like a roaring lion, I tear (you) in pieces, and (there be] none to deliver. Know that this is the maxim by

which I will administer the rewards and punishments of my empire. 23 Whoso offereth praise from a devout, humble heart, glorifieth

me ; promotes my honour and interest in the world : and to him that ordereth [his) conversation (arighi,] who is concerned to disc prose his actions in a proper manner, will I show the salvation of God, that is, a complete salvation ; a salvation worthy of God, by way of enuinence mine, and infinitely superior to all others,

REFLECTIONS.

1.
" SE

E E how odious formality and hypocrisy are in the sight

of God. How strange is it that the Israelites should substitute sacrifices instead of holy obedience, when there were so many cautions in the law against it! We are in no danger of this; but christians are in danger of laying too much stress on rites and ceremonies of men's devising, or even of substituting the means of religion instead of the end ; praying, hearing, and receiving sacraments, instead of justice, mercy, and self governinent. How abon. inable is it to talk of religion, to be zealous for its articles and doctrives, while we are enemies to its morals ! to love to give instruction, but hate to receive it! Such are an abomination in the sight of God ; and we should dread every degree of the hypocrisy bere condemned.

2. Let us guard against the source of such a temper, and particularly against imagining that God is such an one as ourseltes. The best men have but imperfect notions of God, and too many have mean, false, and dishonourable notions of him. May we never think that he is weak and fickle, like ourselves ; that he forgets what is past ; is unconcerned about truth and righteousness; and that because he does not immediately punish transgressors, he never will; but be false to his word. Let us remember that he is a God of perfect knowledge, and forgets nothing; that he is the just, the holy, the terrible, the unchangeable God ; that he has declared the highest abhorrence of hypocrisy and wickedness, and will not fail in his own good time to reprove and punish it.

3. Let us devoutly present to God the acceptable sacrifices and services here required. Though he does not now command sacri. fices and burnt offerings, he still demands the sacrifice of thanks. giving, and the regular exercise of serious, fervent prayer. He re

quires us to vow to forsake sin, and do our duty ; and to perform those vows; to glorify him, when we are delivered from trouble, by offering praise, and by holy lives ; especially that we order our conversation aright, agreeable to the reason of things, the rules of his word, and our true interest ; as we desire to escape the doom of hypocrites, and to see and enjoy the salvation of God.

4. Let us keep in remembrance the final awful judgment, in order to preserve the integrity of our hearts before God. This poetical description of God's coming to judge his people Israel, will be verified at the great day, when Christ shall appear in his own and his Father's glory, attended with all his angels, to judge the world. Then the whole earth shall be summoned before him to receive their sentence ; then will he gather his saints together, who have been sincere in their worship, holy in their conversation, and faithful to their covenant. He will set the sins of the wicked in order before them ; the sins of childhood, youth, and riper years ; the sins of heart, hand, and tongue; and they that have forgotten Gode will with inexorable severity be torn in pieces, and there shall be none to deliver. May we all seriously consider this; and so remember that future solemn account, that oʻir work may be found to praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

PSALM LI.

To the chief musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet

came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. The title of this psalm tells us on what a melancholy cccasion it was

composed, namely, upon David's great and heinous sin in committing adultery with Bathsheba, and murdering her husband. It is a remarkable instance of his humility, and a proof of his repentance, that i: should be delivered to the master of music in the labernacle service, and publicly performed there, the king himself probably attend. ing in sackcloth. He repeats the same petitions again and again, his heart being 100 full to altend to any order. 1 AVE mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving

'H

mercies blot out* my transgressions ; his pleas are all taken from

God's goodness and mercy. I am fully sensible of my defilement 2 by my sin, and pray thee to Wash me throughly from mine in3 iquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my

transgressions : and my sin [is] ever before me; I keep it ever

in view, to increase my humility and make me more watchful for the 4 future. Against thec, thee only, or chiefly, have I sinned, and

done [this] evil in thy sight; I have done evil to myself, 10 Dethsheba, to Uriah, and to those brave men who were slain with him but my sin chiefly grieves me as committed against thee, against thine authority, omniscience, justice and goodness : this I acknowl. edge, that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, [and] be clear when thou judgest; or, as it should be rendered, so that thou art justified in fironouncing sentence against me, and wouldet

* The term b'itting out : Nudes to the notion of God's keeping a book of remeni rance of the good and evil activus of his creaturts, and is a metaphor' whish occurs in many parts > the sex iptures.

be clear from the imputation of injustice, wert thou to execute it,' 5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity ; and in sin did my mother 6 conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts ;

I know that thou requirest of men to suppress the first motion 19 that which is evil, to stifle every sinful inclination : and in the hidden (part] thou shalt make me to know wisdom, or hast made

me to know it ; given me a principle of reason and conscience, to 7 correct and restrain the workings of corrupt nature. Purge me

with hyssop, and I shall be clean : wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow ; an allusion to the waters of purification which were to be sprinkled over those who were ceremonially unclean ; as if he

had said, Till I am purified in a spiritual sense, I am not fit to 8 appear in thy sanctuary, or have a place among thy people. Make

me to hear joy and gladness, by affording me thy pardoning mer

cy; [that] the bones (which] thou hast broken, my wounded 9 spirit

, may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out 10 all mine iniquities ; let my guilt be entirely forgiven. Create in

me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me; thy almighty flower only can renew thine image in me, and make me a new and holy creature ; a very humbling expression, as if his

wickedness had not only polluted all that was good in hin, but en11 tirely destroyed all rectitude and integrity. Cast me not away

from thy presence, from communion with thee ; and take not the 12 influences and assistance of thy holy Spirit from me. Restore

unto me the joy of thy salvation, a comfortable sense of thy favour ;

and uphold me (with thy) free Spirit, from falling into sin, and 13 give me courage and resolution in thy service. [Then] will I

teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted

unto thee; I will admonish others against sin, and encourage those 14 who have fallen to repent. Deliver me from blood guiltiness, the

murders I have been accessary to, () God, thou God of my salva

tion : [and] my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness, or 15 goodness. O LORD, open thou my lips, which have been sealed

with shame, confusion, and fear, and my mouth shall slow forth 16 thy praise. For thou desirest not sacrifice ; else would I give

[it ;) hast not afifrointed any sacrifice for such sins as I am guilty

of: thou delightest not in burnt offering ; thou dost not value 17 them in comparison of sincere and universal obedience. The sac

rifices of God, his beloved and most acceptable sacrifices, (are) a broken spirit; an heart which is humble, fenicul, tender, and pa

• These are undonbreddy figurative expressions; probably a strong declaration of the greatness of his guilt, just as the Israelites are called regressers from the mané: or if it refer, is is generally supposedl, to his bringing corrurt and evil inclinatinns into the world with him. it cannot be mentioned as an excuse, but is an aggravation wilis sio ; that knowing this, he ought to have been more watchful.

tient : a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not de18 spise, but graciously accept, and therefore I will offer it. Do good

in thy good pleasure unto Zion; favour the public interests of

Israel : build thou the walls of Jerusalem ; complete the work, 19 and protect and defend the city. Then shalt thou be pleased with

the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering : then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar ; though I am unworthy to do it, thy faithful servants shall bring chose sacrifices, thou mayest accept; and when I am reconciled to thee, I will join with them in such devout services and offerings.

REFLECTIONS.

O ,

1. BSERVE how David describes the great evil of sin, from cleansing, and purifying, intimate how sadly defiling it is ; that it destroys the beauty and purity of the soul, renders it offensive and odious to God, makes the sinner a burden to himself, and gives him a pain, which the language of broken bones does but imperfectly represent. His guilt and remorse are recorded for our admonition, that when we think we stand, we may take heed lest we fall. They that make light of sin, forget its malignity and its horrors, and will be of another mind when God and conscience set their sins in order before them.

2. We are here taught the nature of genuine repentance. It consists in a due sense of the evil of sin ; more particularly as committed against God; as it manifests a disbelief of his omniscience, a contempt of his authority and justice, and an abuse of his goodness. It consists in having the heart broken and contrite for sin, deeply humbled, ashamed, and grieved for it, and produces a serious, humble confession of its particular circumstances and aggravations. A true penitent will, like David, give glory to God by a public acknow. ledgment of his guilt and repentance, where his sin has been public, and take shame to himself in the presence of God's people.

3. Under a sense of guilt, let us adopt these suitable and excellent petitions and pleas. God may have preserved us from such heinous and aggravated offences as David was guilty of ; but in many things we offend all ; our souls have been polluted and defiled, and we need pardoning mercy and purifying grace. Let us then offer up these petitions with the same temper as David did, remembering that the gospel directs us to seek mercy through the atonement and intercession of Christ, and represents his blood as the great instrument of our purification. Let us have recourse to the blood of sprinkling, and the sacrifices of a broken and contrite heart will then be acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

4. When God has extended his pardoning goodness to us, let us teach, admonish, and encourage others; warn them from our own experience of the evil and mischief of sin, and caution them to aba stain from that bitter and abominable thing. We should encourage them to hope in God's mercy, and to seek it in the gospel way.

Vol. IV.

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David is in this psalm teaching us, and all other transgressors to the end of the world. Let us join in his good resolutions; and make it our great aim in teaching and admonishing others, that they inay turn to God, do works meet for repentance, and sin no more.

5. Amidst our greatest private cares and sorrows, we should not forget the interests of God's Zion. It is a most lovely and ainiable part of David's character, and should be imitated by us, that oppressed and almost distracted as he was; under a sense of guilt, still Je. rusalem came into his mind, and that he offered up a prayer for its welfare. As we have all more or less done injury to the public by our sins, we should do it what service we can, by our prayers : for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

PSALM LII.

To the chief musician, Maschil, A Psalm) of David, when Doeg

the Edomite came and told Saul, and said unto him, David is come to the house of Abimelech.

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This Doeg made a false representation to Saul, of David's being sufiplied with food and weapons by Ahimelech ; upon which Saul sent Doeg, who slew a great number of the priests, 1 Sam, xxii. 10.-18. and it seems from the first verse of this pisalm, that he boasted of it, as a noble exploit. David may furobably refer to some other enemies of a like character. 1 H Y boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty many

and promisest thyself that ihou shalt prevail over me? the goodness of God, which has hitherto appeared for me, (en.

dureth) continually, and shall still protect me ; his goodness .. makes thy mischief appear more base and abominable. The finest 2 and moet just censure on tyranny that ever was prenned. Thy

tongue deviseth mischiefs ; like a sharp razor, working deceit

fully ; it is a keen instrument of mischief ; thou hidesi perfidy 3 und falsehood under the name of loyalty and friendship., Thou

lovest evil more than good ; [and] lying against ine, Ahiinelech, and the priests, rather than to speak righteousness, the whole truth which would have cleared our characier. Selah.

Yea, 4 Thou lovest all devouring words, which were the ruin and de.

struction of a family of friesis, and the whole city ; (see I Sam, 5 xxii. 18, 19.). O [thou) deceitful tongue. God shall likewise

destroy, thee for ever, he shall take thee away suddenly, and pluck thee out of (thy] dwelling place, where thou thinkest thi.

self secure, and root thee and thy posterity, out of the land of 6 the living, Selah. The righteous also shall see this, and fear

the righteous judgment of God, and shall laugh at him ; shall turn 7 from thee with contempt and derision, saying, Lo, (this is) the

great man [that] made not the favour of God his strength ; but

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