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3. In every time of public or private distress, let us contemplato the works of God, and think of him as the ruler of the day and night; who opens the eyelids of the morning, and draws the curtains of the night; who has appointed the revolucions of the heavenly bodies, and continues the regular succession of seasons : whose power therefore is not weakened. As summer comes after winter, and day after night, so we may hope for a happy change in the most distressing circumstances. He is faithful to his covenant of the day and of the night, and will have respect to his covenant with his people. Let us recollect what he did for Israel; what we have heard with our ears, and what our fathers have told us. The cause of religion is God's cause, and he will plead it. Whatever his people suffer, and though many are the afflictions of ihe righteous, the Lord will deliver them out of them all.



To the chief musician, Altaschith, A Psalm [or] Song of Asaph.


This is called a song of Asaph ; but as it seems to have been compo.

sed by a prince or magistrate, and Asaph was only the leader of the singers in the temple, it is more probable that it was wrilten by David, upon his accession to the crown, and was directed to Asaph, as the chief musician. He begins with declaring his thanks fulne88 to God for the establishment of his government, I

NTO thee, O God, do we give thanks, (unto thee) do we

give thanks : for (that) thy name is near, thy wondrous works declare ; thy wondrous works displayed in our behalf show

that thou art near to u8. Nor will I content myself with fraising 2 thee, but when I shall receive the congregation, when all the people

shall submit themselves to me, I will judge the people uprightly. 3 The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved : I bear

up the pillars of it. In Saul's time justice had been perverted, which occasioned such confusion, as if the foundations of civil gove

ernment had been destroyed ; but I will do all I can to support its f sinking interest, by promoting religion and justice. Selah. I said

unto the fools, impious and profane persons, Deal not foolishly ; and to the wicked, Lift not up the horn ; I will put a stop ro their

immoralities, and will not suffer them to exert their oppressive 5 power : Lift not up your horn on high; behave not insolently : 6 speak (not with] a stiff neck against my government. For my

promotion (cometh) neither from the east, nor from the west, 7 nor from the south. But from God, who [is] the judge, and

will support me: it is he putteth down'one, and setteth up another. 8 For in the hand of the Lord (there is) a cup, and the wine is

red ; it is full of mixture ; and he poureth out of the same : but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the carth s! all wring

[them) out, [and] drink (them ;] an allusion to a custom in the east of destroying criminals with poisoned wine. Good men may taste the cup of affliction, but the very dregs belong to the wicked,

the most dreadful judgments shall be their portion : a weighty rea9 son why they should not be proud and presumptuous. But I will 10 declare for ever ; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. All

the horns of the wicked also will I cut off ; I will deprive them of their power ; [but] the horns* of the righteous shall be exalted ; they shall be raised to posts of dignity and authority.


1. W


E are taught from hence, to maintain a constant sense

of the presence of God ; that his name, that is, he himself is near.

All his works declare this; the course of nature, the daily operations of Providence ; and especially his wondrous works for his church and people. Let us be careful to observe his works, to give him the glory of his omnipresence, and praise him as the author of all our deliverances and comforts.

2. Whatever we find to be advantageous in our circumstances, it is derived from God, and ought to be improved for him. Promotion cometh neither from the east nor from the west, neither from one quarter nor another ; but God is the judge. If our rank in life be distinguished, if our circumstances be plentiful and easy ; if we have any authority or influence over others, or respect from them, we should thankfully ascribe it to God, and employ all for him ; to discountenance evil doers, and weaken their power ; to encourage, support, and keep in countenance those that are good.

3. Let us dread having our portion with the wicked, and think of the cup of trembling and indignation which shall be put into their hands. Good men have sometimes a taste of this cup, even Christ himself had ; and the cup which our father hath given us, shall we not drink it? but the wicked drink the dregs of it, in the terrors of conscience now, and a fearful looking for of his vengeance ; and they shall drink of it for ever; for on the wicked the Lord shall rain snares, fire, and brimstone, and a horrible tempest : this is the portion of their cup.

4. Let us be thankful to God for the good government we live under ; remembering that promotion cometh from God. It does not depend on the people's choice who shall be king, nor on the king's choice who shall be ministers and rulers under him. God putteth down one and setteth up another. In this view we should recollect with pleasure and gratitude the wonderful revolution which he brought about in our country, in favour of our religion and liberties, when both were in imminent danger; and also the succession of the present royal family ; when, in both cases, there seemed to be so many difficulties in the way, and so many of our leading men

Among the ancients horns were made use of as an emblem of power and authority. On may ancient coins their princes are represented with horns, to denote that they were powerful princes.


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sprake with a stiff neck. But God hath favoured us with a righteous and mild government, and continued it to this day, notwithstanding several attempts have been made to subvert it. May he long continue it, give us grace to own his interposition with all thankfulness, and to lead quiet and peaceable lives, in all godliness and honesty.


To the chief musician on Neginoth, a Psalm [or] Song of Asaph. Probably composed in Hezekiah's time on occasion of the destruction

of the Assyrians, 2 Kings xix. to which it is extreinely suitable. The Seventy call it A song upon the Assyrians.



1 N Judah [is] God known, more evidently and undeniably

than he formerly was, both by his gracious word, and niracus lous works : his name [is] great, his divine perfections are magni2 fied in Israel. In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling

place in Zion; it is clearly known that his abode is there, by the 3 destruction of those enemies who attacked and insulted it. There

brake he the arrows of the bow, or coals of the bow, that is, a

rows which inflicted a burning wound, the shield, and the sword, 4 and the battle. Selah. Thou, mount Zion, (art] more glorious

[and] excellent than the mountains of prey ; or, rather, from the mountains of prey : thou appearest more glorious after 80 signal a

victory, and so sudden and terrible a slaughter of thine enemies, 5 The stout hearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep: and

none of the men of might have found their hands ; the Assyrian

host are destroyed, they were not able to strike a stroke, or defend 6 themselves against the angel who attacked them. At thy rebuke,

O God of Jacob, whom they reproached, both the chariot and

horse, the charioteers and horsemen, are cast into a dead sleep, 7 the plague destroyed them both. Thou, (even) thou only (art) to

be feared : and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art 8 angry. We made our solemn appeal to thee, and Thou didst cause

judgment to be heard from heaven; hast pronounced a sentence of

condemnation upon our enemies ; the earth feared, and was still, 9 they were quite silent and confounded, When God arose to judg

ment, to save all the meek of the earth ; his helpless people, who 10 had patiently borne the insolence of the Assyrians. Selah. Surely

the wrath of man, in other instances, shall praise thee ; shall make thy praise more conspicuous, 80 that others shall learn to fear

thy name : the remainder of wrath, what will not be for thy glory Il and the good of thy people, shalt thou restrain. Vow that

you will bring new sacrifices and honours to God, and pay unto the LORD your God what you have already vowed : let all that be round about him bring presents unto him that ought to be feared ; let all who shall hear of this mighty work, bring their tribute 12 and homage to this awful Being. He shall cut off the spirit of

princes ; shall mow them down like grass ; which intimates how easily he can bring down the pride and haughtiness of their spirits, and destroy their lives : (he is) terrible to the kings of the earth; to the greatest king: who dare to blaspheme, insult, and oppose him or his people.

REFLECTIONS. 1. E may with great pleasure apply these declarations to

God's care of his church in general. Among them he is known. His perfections are known in some measure among the heathen ; but most clearly among those who are favoured with the scriptures. He hath often appeared to weaken the strength of the mighty ; to destroy the weapons of his insolent enemies, and sink them into a deep, irrecoverable sleep. And this is applicable to spiritual deliverances, to the triumphs of Christ over the enemies of his people, when he spoiled principalities and powers, ascended on high, and led captivity captive.

2. Let us reverence this great and glorious God, who has such amazing power. He, even he only, is to be feared : who can stand in his sight when once he is angry. What a vast power and stretch of thought must he have, who can make the wrath of man to praise him, and subserve his own purposes : Let us tremble before him, who cutteth off the spirit of princes, and, on that account, is terrible to the kings of the earth. He hath verified these words in his conduct to this nation. This great Being, whose are all hands and all souls, is greatly to be feared, and to be had in reverence of all that draw nigh unto him.

3. We should be very solicitous to pay our vows unto God. It is our duty to bind ourselves by solemn vows to be his, for his we are, and are under innumerable obligations to serve him. But we must also remember our vows; it is better not to vow, than to vow and not perform. Let us bring our presents to him, though he needs them not ; it is the way to show our gratitude, and our sense of the obligations we are under to him, and that we have received our all from him. The most acceptable present is our whole selves ; let us therefore yield ourselves to God, and glorify him in our bodies and spirits which are his,


To the chief musician, to Jeduthun, A Psalm of Asaph.

The author of this psalm seems to have been a good man, but of a mel-,

ancholy disposition. It contains reflections on the afflictive scenes through which he had passed. The first verse expresseth the issue of his whole experience. God at length heard him, and removed his grief ; though as he shows more largely) it was a long time before he obtained that favour.

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1 2 voice ; and he ear unto me. In the day of my trouble

I sought the LORD : my sore ran in the night, and ceased not ;

or, my head was watered in the night with tears that flowed plenti3 fully : my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God,

and was troubled : I complained, and my spirit was overwhelm-, ed; I then thought on God, which used to be the noblest relief,

yet I found my soul incapable of relishing this divine consolation. 4. Selah. Thou holdest mine eyes waking : I am so troubled

that I cannot speak ; I have restless nights and uncomfortable 5 days, and my trouble is so great that I cannot express it. I have

considered the days of old, the years of ancient times; what 6 God has done for me in the former part of life. I call to re

membrance my song in the night ; my former songs : I com

mune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search 7 into the reason why God has sent this affliction. Will the LORD 8 cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more ? Is his

mercy clean gone for ever? doth (his] promise fail forevermore? 9 Hath God forgotten to be gracious ? hath he in anger shut up.

his tender mercies ? have I so highly provoked him, that he will

show me no mercy. Selah. But I checked these gloomy thoughts, 10 And I said, This (is) my infirmity, that is, my distemper, these

duubts and suspicions are dishonourable to God, and injurious to myself ; [but I will remember] the years of the right hand of

the most High ; the years in which his power was excrted for his il people. I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will 12 remember thy wonders done of old. I will meditate also of all

thy later work, and to impress them upon my mind, I will talk with, 13 others of thy doings. Thy way, O God, [is] in the sanctuary ;

I know it is perfectly holy, but above our comprehension : who [is

so] great a God as (our) God? None is equal to thee in power 14 and in wisdom. Thou (art] the God that doest wonders : thou

hast declared thy strength among the people, and showed that it

exceeds both their strength and opinion, particularly in the deliver 15 ance of Israel out of Egyfi : Thou hast with (thine) arm rem. 16 deemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah. The

waters saw thee, o God, the waters saw thee : felt the effects of thy divine presence and power : they were afraid ; the depths

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