« PreviousContinue »
3. Let us study the nature and perfections of the blessed God; and labour to know his name, as a powerful motive to trust in him, and in perilous times to fly to him. For our encouragement, let ys reniember that he never forsakes them who seek him ; never disowns or deserts them.
4. We should observe the wisdom and equity of divine Prove idence, in sinking ambitious, tyrannical and persecuting powers into their own pit, and snaring them in the works of their own hands, turning their wicked designs upon themselves. Our own country hath had frequent experience of this ; God hath brought upon wicked men the ruin they were contriving against his church and people. When God makes inquisition for the blood of his persecuted saints, he will punish their persecutors. Let this be the subject of our frequent and most serious meditation.
5. We should consider seriously what will be the lot of the wick. ed at last. However they may escape punishment now, he will cast them into hell ; even though nations, powerful and numerous ; and not only blasphemers and persecutors, but even all those that forget God. The cause of wickedness is forgetfulness of God; and the end of it is hell. It is an easy thing to slight the judgments of God now, but not so easy to bear them. Who can stand in his sight when once he is angry?
6. It is much to be wished that all mankind may consider that they are men, and but men. This is true of the greatest princes, and of those who think themselves as gods, above the common rank of mortals. The thought of this would abate their fride and ambia tion. It is good for us to consider that we are but men ; weak, frail, dying, accountable men. It would tend to lessen our conceit of ourselves, and our dependence upon, and boasting of, our own wisdom and strength; and it would teach us to cease from man, whose breath is in his nostrils ; for wherein is he to be accounted of?
This psalm was probably composed by David during Saul's adminis
tration ; the oppression and insolence of whose ministers is here described in a very lively and pathetic manner.
1 HY standest thou afar off, O LORD? (why] hidest thou 2
[thyself) in times of trouble and danger ? The wicked in (his) pride, on account of his authority and power, doth perse
cute the poor : let them be taken in the devices that they have 3 imagined, or arifully framed. For the wicked boasteth of his
heart's desire, that he can do what he pleaseth ; and blegseth the covetous, (whom) the LORD abhorreth ; praiseth the unjust ex.
tortions of other violent men, whom God abhors. The source of all 4 this is a neglect of God; The wicked, through the pride of his
countenance, will not seek (after God :) God (is) not in all his VOL. IV.
thoughts; he thinks himself above the need of God and of prayer ;
he never thinks of the supreme ruler ; all his thoughts are other 5 mise engaged. His ways are always grievous, troublesome and
injurious io those about him; thy judgments (are) far above out of his sight; he thinks divine threatenings are but trifles, and that he is in no danger of God's judgments : Cas for) all his enemies,
he puffeth at them ; he despises them to the last degree, and thinks 6 he can easily blow them away. He hath said in his heart, I shall
not be moved : for [I shall] never (be) in adversity, my prosa 7 perity shall always continue. His mouth is full of cursing and
deceit and fraud : under his tongue [is] mischief and vanity;
sometimes he utters his malignity of heart, and sometimes speaks *8 fair, in order to hide it. He sitteth in the lurking places of the
villages : in the secret places deth he murder the innocent: his
eyes are privily set against the poor ; like a highway robber and 9 murderer, who lurks about for the defenceless. He lieth in wait
secretly, as a lion in his den : he lieth in wait to catch the poor : he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his pet; he is like a licn ready io catch his prey ; that waits with cool, deliber:
ate, unwearied patience, till he gels his prey into his den, and then IÓ draws out his vitals without remorse. He croucheth, [and] hum
bleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones, that is,
by his claws and teeth : still carrying on the same metaphor. Now 11 all this wickedness is owing to secret atheism; He hath said in his
heart, God hath forgotten : he hideth his face ; he will never 12 see [it.] Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up thine hand : forget
not the humble ; lift up thine hand 10 confound those who blas13 pheme thee, and to deliver and relieve the poor. Wherefore doth
the wicked contemn God? what is it that encourages them in these wicked practices ? it is because he hath said in his heart, Thou
wilt not require (it ;j he thinks God, by his forbearance, does not 14 seem to regard them; nevertheless, Thou hast seen [it ;) for
thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite [it] with thy hand; surely thou dost not see it as an idle, unconcerned specialor ; therco fore the poor committeth himself unto thee, firmly expecting
that thou wilt appear, for thou art the helper of the fatherless. 15 Break thou the arm of the wicked and the evil (man ;) spoil
them of their frower to injure others : seek out his wickedness
(till] thou find none ; let there be no wickedness unreckoned for, 16 no mischievous designs undefeated. The LORD [is] king for ever
and ever : the heathen, the wicked Israelites, who deserve no belo
ier name than heathen, are perished out of his land ; the land to 17 which he has a peculiar claim. LORD, thou hast heard the desire
of the humble ; thou hast often done it ; and therefore I believe thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear;
thou wilt fit them to pray acceptably, and to receive the mercies 18 they pray for : To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that
the man of the earth may no more oppress; that mere dust and ashes may not insolently tyrannize.
). ET us reflect upon the detestable characters here describ
ed; and how solicitous we should be to abhor and avoid them. It is too just a description of many princes, nobles, landlords, and masters. What pride do they show, in their rank, wealth, and authority! What oppression do they practise upon their subjects, tenants, dependants, servants, and all that come within' their reach ? Because they have no changes they grow more proud, confident and oppressive. The source of all this is, irreligion ; they forget the supreme Ruler, and have no fear of God before their eyes. Let us then, as men and christians, shun all degrees of oppression, and all the arts of mischief, which are so common in the world around us. Let us be clothed with humility, and cherish it by prayer and setting God before our eyes. He abhors all the wicked ; and will at length appear to humble their pride, to confound their de vices, and bring everlasting mischief and ruin upon them.
2. We are taught to keep the judgments of God always in our sight. Though sentence be not speedily executed against the wicked, it will certainly come. Though God's judgments against sinners are out of our bodily sight, we should keep them before the eyes of our mind, that we may stand in awe and not sin.
3. Setting the Lord always before us, and making a serious business of prayer, are the best preservatives against evil. A wicked man will not seek after God'; God is not in all his thoughts. If we desire to be kept from sin, let us remember that the eye of God is always upon us ; we should take pains to make the thoughts of him familiar to our minds, and have our eyes ever toward him. Let us, as in v. 17. entreat that be would prepare our hearts to pray. Prayers are represented by Homer as the daughters of Jupiter; probably to intimate that he considered it as the work of God to excite men to a proper disposition for prayer. Let us seek of God a fixe ed attention, devout affections, and earnest desires ; then he will cause his ear to hear ; for the preparation of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue; are from the Lord.
4. Let us remember that we are men of the earth; that we may neither forget God, nor injure man. We are of the dust ; supported by it, and tending to it. In the best state we are but dust and ashes ; consequently we have a continual dependence on God, and need daily support and sustenance from him, which should be sought by prayer. We are weak, frail, dying creatures ; therefore it becomes us to avoid all oppression, insolence and mischief. Let us remember also, that the greatest princes and proudest oppres. sors, are but mer of the earth; and attend to the force of the prophet's expostulation, Why art thou afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man who is but dust?
To the chief musician, (A Psalm] of David.
It was probably composed by him while at Saul's ceurt ; some of his
friends observed the danger he was in before he himself did, being a young man and unpractised in the arts of courts. The psalmist be gins with declaring his firm confidence in God's fidelity and good. ne88.
N the LORD, put I my trust : how say ye to my soul, Flee
[as] a bird to your mountain the second and third verses seem to be the arguments his friends urged upon him to fly to the
mountains, as a bird, to get away from Saul's malice as soon as he 2. could ;, For, lo, say they, the wicked bend (their) bow, they
make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily
shoot at the upright in heart ; like an artful fowler taking aim at 3 an helpless bird. "If, or, seeing then that, the foundations be de
stroyed, that there is no law nor justice, nothing but artifice and perfidy, what can the righteous do ? innocence and righteousn
will be no security. The rest of the psalm is David's answer 10 4 this suggestion. The LORD [is] in his holy temple, or, palace
above ; the Lord's throne (is) in heaven, in finitely exalted above the highest earthly monarch : his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men ; he looks attentively, observes their conduct
with the minutest care, as men do when they look intently upon an 5 object, The Lord trieth the righteous ; exerciseth him with af:
fliction to call forth and improve his graces ; but the wicked and
him that loveth violence his soul hateth, however prosperous and 6 successful he may be. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire
and brimstone, and an horrible tempest; their destruction shall be like that of Sodom, surprising and inevitable : (this shall be )
the portion of their cup; the rectitude of God will engage him to 7 do this. For the righteous LORD loveth rigteousness, and all
who practise it ; therefore he will thus severely punish those who persecute his servants ; and his countenance doth behold the up: right with approbation and delight, notwithstanding all the injuri, ous treatment they meet with.
E are taught from hence, to reverence the omniscience
dren of men. He knows every man's true character, and what schemes and desires are in his heart. He knows it, not by report or representation from others, as earthly princes do; but by imme. diate and thorough inspection. Let us therefore reverence this in: finite mind, which is capable of perfect and universal knowledge ;
and endeavour to approve all our actions and thoughts to his all seeing eye.
2. How desirable is it that God should be our friend, and not our enemy. We here see what is necessary to this. Upright and righteous men are the objects of his love ; he beholds them with an approving and gracious eye, however men may treat them, and whatever they may say or think of them. He hates the wicked, with all their pomp and power ; and will bring upon them speedy, irresistible, and everlasting destruction. Let us dread and abhor their character, and let integrity and uprightness always pre'serve us.
3. We learn from the whole, not to be deterred from our duty by the terror of our enemies, or the unreasonable caution and ten. derness of our friends. When David's enemies persecuted him, his friends were much concerned about him, and advised him to fly; he argues against this strongly, not because it would appear cowardly, but it would manifest unbelief, a distrust of the power, care, and faithfulness of God; and he would sooner have his valour suspected than his piety. Let us, like him, act steadily in our duty ; keep the post which Providence assigns us, and never be discouraged by what men can do against us. He here suggests to us many weighty motives to continue firm to our duty ; particularly, the overruling providence of God, his perfect knowledge of what we are doing, the principles on which we act, and the designs of others against us. Let us remember that he will approve us, if we are faithful to him. If he tries us by affliction he will not forsake us ; and when he rains destruction upon the wicked, we shall appear to be the obe jects of his protection and love. In him therefore let us put our trust ; and boldly say with the psalmist, The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what men can do unto me.
To the chief musician upon Sheminith, A Psalm of David.
Probably penned by him on his accession to the throne ; as there is a
reference to the persecutions he endured from Saul and his courtiers, and the great degeneracy of the people during his administration. 1
; ful fail from among the children of men ; the faithful or 2 the honest fail, they are reduced or diminished to a handful. They
speak vanity every one with his neighbour : [with] Aattering lips (and) with a double heart do they speak ; one neighbour will
not believe another ; they pretend kindness, while they mean noth. 3 ing, or only cruelty and deceit. The LORD shall cut off all flat
tering lips, (and) the tongue that speaketh proud things ; he