« PreviousContinue »
the salvation of perishing souls. May we not only submit to him as our prince, but welcome him with the utmost joy ; welcome him into our hearts, and yield every power of our souls to his sovereign and delightful sway : for his laws are reasonable, his protection sure, and his rewards great and everlasting.
This psalm is a miscellaneous collection of what arose in David's mind
concerning the excellency of the law of God, his desire to understand it, and his resolution to practise it. Afterward it was put into poetical order, and divided into twenty two parts, agreeable to the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet ; each verse in the first part beginning with Aleph, all in the second with Beth, and so on, as marked in our English bibles. This is particularly suited to the compositi un, as consisting of independent sentences, which by this method might more easily be remembered. There is so much resema blance in the sentiments, reflections, and petitions in this psalm, that there is room to draw but few practical reflections from the several parts; it will be sufficient to illustrate its sense and beauty where is may be needful.
the law of the LORD ; who endeavour to keep themselves from the defilement of sin through the whole course of their lives. 2 Blessed (are] they that keep his testimonies, (and that] seek
him with the whole heart ; who are devoted entirely to his 18er 3 vice, and are solicitous above all things to secure his favour. They
also do no iniquity ; they do not work iniquity, it is not their pre4 vailing custom : they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded
[us] to keep thy precepts diligently, and we ought to acknowledge 5 the command as a favour. () that my ways were directed to
keep thy statutes ! O that my knowledge of thy precefiis may inAuence my conduct, and my heart be disposed to observe thy law. 6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy
commandments ; I shall have confidence in ther, and not be disasie 7 pointed of my hope. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart,
when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments, that is, shall 8 have been thoroughly instrucied in the naiure of thy worship. I
will keep thy statutes : () forsake me not utterly ; stand by me and strengthen me, that I may keep my good resolutions.
BETH. 9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking
heed (thereto) according to thy word ; young men are apt 10 corrupt iheir ways, through want of experience and thought, through bad eramples, and depravily of heart ; but if they study thy law,
and compare their lives with that, it will tend io preserve, or reform 10 them. With my whole heart have I sought thee : O let me not 21 wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in
mine heart, that I might not sin against thee ; I have laid it up
in my memory, impressed my heart avith it, and often call it to mind, 12 to be my security against sin. Blessed (art] thou, O Lord :
teach me thy statutes, that so I may resemble thee in purity and 13 blessedness. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of
thy mouth ; I have openly professed my affectionale regard for 14. them. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonits, as (much
as] in all riches; I have found more pleasure in contemplating
and obeying thy lazu, than in all the vast substance of which I am 15 master. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto
thy ways; I will take notice of thy word and providence, and ob. serve the harmony between them, how the scriptures illustra'e thy
providence, and providence the scriptures. Delightful and profile 16 able work! I will delight myself in thy statutes : I will not forget thy word.
GIMEL. 17 Deal bountifully with thy servant, [that] I may live, and keep
thy word ; it is for this end I desire life; to this purpose I will 18 employ it ; and to better purpose I cannot live. Open thou mine
eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law ; that I may discern the admirable wisdom discovered there. I know there are greater things in the law of God, than appear upon a transient
survey; and I desire to see and feel them ; which I cannot do wiihe 19 out divine illumination. * I (am) a stranger in the earth : hide not
thy commandments from me, but let them guide me through this 20 dangerous state. My soul breaketh for the longing (that it hath]
unto thy judgments at all times ; I approve thy commandments
80 heartily, and love them 80 well, that it is the greatest grief of my 21 soul, that I am not more entirely conformed 10 them. Thou hast
rebuked the proud (that are] cursed, which do err from thy commandments; my proud enemies, who have persecuted me,
without any regard to equity and humanity, and are therefore in thy 22 book branded with a curse. Remove from me reproach and con
tempt, which they have endeavoured to cast upon me, for I have 23 kept thy testimonies. Princes also, Saul and his courtiers, did
sit (and] speak against me : [but] thy servant did meditate in
thy statutes, and that made me easy, notwithstanding all their com24 binations against me. Thy testimonies also [are) my delight,
[and] my counsellors ; though I have often had no friend 10 cmsuli, yet I have found guidance there in my perplexities and dangers.
DALETH. My soul cleaveth unto the dust; my affections are sometimes irregular, and my heart languid : quicken thou me according to
thy word, according to thy promise, or by attending to thy word. 26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me; I have laid
open the state of my soul before ther, all my fars and dangers : teach me thy statutes, as the surest way to safety and happiness.
• This was especially true in what related to Christ and bis church. VOL. IV.
97 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts more fully ; sa
shall I talk of thy wondrous works; shall be likely to do more 28 good, and be more importunate in prayer. My soul melteth for
heaviness, under a sense of my many sins : strengthen thou me
according unto thy word, which promises mercy to the penitent. 29 Remove from me the way of lying, all the falschood and deceit
which my enemics practise against me : and grant me to observe
thy law graciously, that is, through thy good pleasure. And though 30 in some instances I may have deviated from it, yet I have chosen 31 the way of truth : thy judgments have I laid (before me.] I
have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame;
let me not fall into any sinful course; by which I may expose my. 82 self or religion to reproach. I will run the way of thy command
ments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart; I shall go on with vigour and cheerfulness when thou shalt remove niy burden and restraiirt, and communicate more of thy spirit to me.
HE. 83 Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes ; and I shall keep 34 it (unto) the end. Give me understanding to see its beauty and
excellency, and I shall keep thy law ; yea, I shall observe it with 35 (my) whole heart, with sincerity and abiding resolation. Make
me to go in the path of thy commandments ; for therein do I 36 delight. Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to cov. 37 etousness.* Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity from
admiring and coveting worldly things ; [and] quicken thou me 38 in thy way. Stáblish thy word, thy gracious promises, especially
those of the everlasting covenant, unto thy servant, who [is de 39 voted] to thy fear. Turn away my reproach which I fear; fire
serve me from bringing a reproach upon religion : for thy judg.
ments [are) good ; by regarding thy word, my reputation and 40 that of religion may be secured. Behold, I have longed after thy
precepts, to hear, read, and obey them: quicken me in thy righteousness, according to thy faithful promises.
VAU. 41 Let thy mercies come also unto me, O Lord, [even) thy sal42 vation, according to thy word. So shall I have wherewith to
answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word; pirc
bably referring to the promise of the kingdom, his expectation of 43 which had been derided. And take not the word of truth utterly
out of my mouth ; let me have liberty and resolution still to pro
fess my faith in thy firomise ; for I have hoped in thy judgments. 44 So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever; I shall
not grow more negligent in thy service, but be animated to perse45 vere to the end. And I will walk at liberty : for I seek thy pre
cepts ; I shall not be entangled, or put to any mean shifis, since I 46 inquire after thy will, and not the maxims of human policy. I will
speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed; the kings of the Philistines and Nluab may endeavour 10 per
This is an elliptie il expression, det it not be inclined !0 crvetousness. David found human weakness working in hin, and therefore Legs to be preserved to on the snare,
- suade me to worship idols, but I will plead the cause of the God of 47 Israel before them, though I depend ever so much upon them. And
I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved; as I have loved them, I will love them better, and seek my pleasure
in them (as the word signifies) more than in any sensual gratifi. 48 cations. My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments,
which I have loved ; and I will meditate in thy statules; I wil not only commend them, and meditate upon them, but act agreeably 10 them.
REFLECTION. We see from hence what is the temper of good men, and what should be ours; we should form a steady resolution to study and practise the divine laws; this should be accompanied with earnest prayer, that God would teach us to know them, and incline us to practise them; that neither ignorance, unsteadiness, nor cowardice, may make us neglect them. This is the way to true blessedness; and may God incling us to walk in this way, even to the end.
ZAIN. 49 Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast 50 caused me to hope. This [is] my comfort in my affliction : for
thy word hath quickened me; brought comfort to me when I was 51 ready 10 despair. The proud have had me greatly in derisione
[yet] have I not declined from thy law, even for my own fireser52 vation from their designs. I remembered thy judgments of old,
O LORD; thine afipearances for good men in former ages ; and
have comforted myself with the expectation of the like appear. 53 ances in my fuvour. Horror hath taken hold upon me because 54 of the wicked that forsake thy law. Thy statutes have been
my songs, matter of joy to me, in the house of my pilgrimage, 55 in the places of my wandering. I have remembered thy name, 56 () Lord, in the night, and have kept thy law. This composure
and cheerfulness of spirits under the most pressing afflictions, thiş communion with thee, I had, because I kept thy precepts.
REFLECTION These verses suggest these two important and excellent thoughts; that a devotional spirit is to be acknowledged as an invaluable favour, and that the way to attain it is to exercise a good conscience at all times. A sense of guilt will distress and perplex the mind, unfit us for converse with God, and receiving the tokens of his favour.
CHETH. 57 (Thou art) my portion, O LORD: I have said that I would 58 keep thy words. I entreated thy favour with (my) whole heart : 59 be merciful unto me according to thy word. I thought on my FO ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. I made haste 61 and delayed not to keep thy commandinents. The bands of th.
wicked, the Amalekites at Ziklag, have robbed me : [but] I have
not forgotten thy law; I have not gone out of the way of duty to 62 seck revenge. At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee 63 because of thy righteous judgments. I (am) a companion of
all [them) that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts;
though I am a king, yet these are my companions and chosen friends ; 64 tiough I am sometimes obliged to converse with others. The earth,
O LORD, is full of thy mercy : teach me thy statutes, this I desire above all other blessings.
TETH.. 65 Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O Lord, according unto
thy word, though I have been so much afflicted. An acknowledg66 ment that every good man will sooner or later make. Teach me
good judgment and knowledge ; give me (as the word signifies ) a good taste, a right relish for things, that I may discern between what is amiable and odious ; for I have believed thy command
ments, and my final happiness depends on yor ng my relish and 67 my conduct agreeably to them. Before I was afflicted, I went 68 astray : but now have I kept thy word. Thou (art) good, and 69 doest good ; teach me thy statutes. The proud have forged a
lie against me : [but] I will keep thy precepts with (my) whole 70 heart. Their heart is as fat as grease ; their minds are stupified
with sensual pleasures ; (but] I delight in thy law; enjoy nobler
pleasure in the í tudy of thy law. They think that their prosperity 71 is true happiness : but I can say, [it is) good for me that I have
been aflicted ; that I might learn thy statutes ; learn them bet72 ter, and observe them more diligently. The law of thy mouth (is)
better, that is, more precious, unto me than thousands of gold and silver.
JOD. 73 Thy hands have made me and fashioned me : give me un
derstanding, that I may learn thy commandments ; Oh do not leave the better part, the soul, without knowledge, cultivation, and
improvemeilt, else I shall be a contemptible creature, how exact and 74 beautiful soever the animal frame may be. They that fear thee
will be glad when they see me ; because I have hoped in thy
word ; when they see such a monument of mercy as I an, who 75 have been supported under so many afflictions and trials. I know,
O LORD, that thy judgments Care) right ; I at firove the justice, suisdom, and goodness of them; and acknowledge (that) thou in faithfulness hast afflicteri me; that they are no way intonsistent
with thy fromises, but will make thy faithfulness more illustrious in 76 delivering me. Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for 77 my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant. Let thy
tender mercies come unto me, that I may live : for thy law 78 (is) my delight. Let the proud!, Snul and his adherents, be
ashamed ; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause : 79 (but] I will meditate in thy p! ts. Let those that fear thee
lurn unto me ; and those that have known thy testiino