Page images
PDF
EPUB

those countries which are under the directions of the Roman church. Let us bless God for the free use of the scriptures, and that we are engaged in spiritual and rational worship. All our capacities and advantages, our victories over temporal and spiritual enemies, and every deliverance which contributes to our happiness, are owing to God, Let boasting then be for ever excluded, and let the subject of every song be, Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name be the glory.

2. Observe the happiness of those who fear the Lord ; He is iheir help and their shield; but idols cannot save them. He will bless them, whether small or great, young or old, rich or poor ; and if he that made heaven and earth blesseth them, they are blessed indeed. This should likewise be an encouragement to trust in him, that he hath been mindful of us ; has given us his gospel, heard our prayer, and granted us a variety of other favours. May his ministers be examples to others of a cheerful hope and trust in God. As the dead cannot praise God, let us praise him while we live, and do it with that seriousness and fervour which his greatness and goodness deserve.

PSALM CXVI.

This psalm was probably comfrosed by David. It is an acknowledge ment of God's mercy in delivering him, when he was reduced to very great extremities, and doubted of God's promises ; and when his enemies also insulted him on account of his sickness. 1 I LOVE the LORD, because he hath heard my voice [and] 21 my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto 3 me, therefore will I call upon [him] as long as I live. The sor

rows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hald upon

me : I found trouble and sorrow ; such pains and horrors as dya 4 ing persons use to feel. Then called I upon the name of the 5 Lord; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. Gracious [is] 6 the LORD, and righteous ; yea, our God [is] merciful. The

LORD preserveth the simple ; sincere and plain hearted persons,

who dare not use those crafty contrivances to save themselves, 7 which some do :: I was brought low, and he helped me. Return

unto thy rest, O my soul, to God, as thy rest, trust and rejoice in 8 him ; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee. For thou

hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, [and] 9. my feet from falling. I will walk before the LORD in the land of

the living: I will employ my strength and cheerfulness in thy sera 10 vice. I believed, therefore have I spoken ; I firmly believe the

divine promises, and therefore express my confidence in them :*

• The apostle in 2 Cor. iv, 13. applies this to himself and his fellow labourers in the christian ministry, declaring that their faith in the promises of Christ carried them through their work with comfort.

11 I was greatly afficted : I said in my haste, All men, that is,

Samuel who promised me the kingdom, and my friends who encour-. 12 aged me, (are] liars. What shall I render unto the LORD (for) 13 all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and 14 call upon the name of the LORD.* I will pay my vows unto the 15 LORD, now in the presence of all his people. Precious in the sight

of the LORD [is] the death of his saints ; he will guard their

lives, and make inquisition for their blood, when he permits them to 16 be slain. O LORD, truly I (am) thy servant ; I [am] thy ser.

vant, [and] the son of thine handmaid : thou hast loosed my 17 bonds. I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will 18 call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows unto the 19 Lord now in the presence of all his people. In the courts of

the LORD's house, in the midst of thee, o Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD.

PSALM CXVII.

This psalm is quoted by the apostle, Rom, xv. 11. as a pirofihecy that

the Gentiles should be brought into the church of God, and praise him with the Jews.

2

O PRAIS

PRAISE the LORD, all ye nations : praise him, all ye

people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us : and the truth of the LORD (endureth] for ever. Praise ye the LORD.

REFLECTIONS on PsaLM CXVI, CXVII.

· 3. I ET us labour to increase in love to God, as his favours are

I multiplied upon us : his daily mercies demand our praise and love. But we should particularly recollect the instances in which he has granted us near escapes from death ; and love God and prayer the better, for all his kind appearances for us, in answer to our applications to him.

2. God's mercies to us should engage us to devote ourselves to his service, and walk before him continually. His bounty should lead us to seek our rest and happiness in him, to fly to him in every time of danger and difficulty, and seriously to inquire what we shall render to him for all his benefits. And let us walk before him, live sensible of his presence, act as under his eye continually, and employ all our strength and ability in his service, with all fidelity and cheerfulness.

3. Let us particularly recollect the solemn engagements we are under to be the Lord's. We are his by our birth, being his creatures. Many of us are descended from his servants, who seriously devoted us to God, and trained us up for him. As this is a great

• Wine was presented to God with their meat offerings ; the person presenting it first drank and poured the rest on the altar. So we read in some heathen writers of a cup of salvation being offered for their deliverance from captivity,

[ocr errors]

blessing, so it lays us under great obligations. We have many of us in a public manner taken the vows of God upon us ; and it is our duty to remember thein, to renew them, and to pay them in that method, and by the discharge of those duties, which God has enjoined ; and while we offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving, let us call upon his name for grace and strength, that we may be faithful even to the end.

4. We learn from the hundred and seventeenth psalm, earnestly to pray that this call may be sent to all the nations, and that God may be universally known and adored. Let us bless him that this word of salvation has been sent to us gentiles ; that the wall of partition is taken down ; and fervently wish and pray, that every nation may enjoy this privilege, and be led by the inestimable bless ings of the gospel to adore and praise its divine author.

PSALM CXVIII.
This psalm is a noble and sacred ode, which was composed to be used

in a solemn procession when David went up to the tabernacle afier
God had given him victory over his enemies, especially the Phi.
listines and the neighbouring nations that were confederated with
them. It seems to have been sung in several parts ; and we can-
not enter into the beauty and spirit of it, without supposing our.
selves to make a part of the procession ; seeing the courts of the tab-
ernacle crowded with innumerable spectators; a great number of
sacrifices ready to be offered; the priests and Levites in their sev.
eral habits, some playing on instruments, and others singing, and the
king, his officers and soldiers, with their arms and ensigns of victory,
marching up to the tabernacle. The whole assembly breaks out into
this divine rapture, v.1.

11

GIVE thanks unto the Lord ; for (he is] good : be

cause his mercy (endureth] for ever. The priests then 2 address the people, Let Israel now say, that his mercy sendureth] 3 for ever. The people reply to the priests, Let the house of

Aaron now say, that his mercy (endureth] for ever; for God hath set over us a prince that will not treat you like Saul, but se

cure your mainienance, and attend and direct your services. The 4 priests then say, Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his

mercy (endureth] for ever. Then the king begins an account of 6 God's wonderful dealings with him. I called upon the LORD in

distress : the Lord answered me, (and set me) in a large place, 6 The LORD [is] on my side ; I will not fear : what can man do 7 unto me? The Lord taketh my part with them that help me :

therefore shall I see [my desire] upon them that hate me. 8 [It is) better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

9 [It is] better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in 10 princes. All nations compassed me about, that is, all the neigh.

bouring nations, the Philistines, the Moabites, the Amorites, and

11 others : but in the name of the LORD will I destroy them. They

compassed me about ; yea, they compassed me about ; but in 12 the name of the LORD I will destroy them. They compassed

me about like bees; they are quenched as the fire of thorns,

which blazes, and dies away quickly : for in the name of the LORD 13 I will destroy them. Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might

fall; thou, my inost distinguished enemy, (perhaps referring to 14 Saul,) but the Lord helped me. The LORD [is] my strength 15 and song, and is become my salvation. The voice of rejoicing

and salvation (is) in the tabernacles of the righteous ; of the pious Israelites, who always favoured my cause, and have now

great reason to rejoice : the right hand of the LORD doeth val. 16 iantly, The right hand of the LORD is exalted ; has appeared

eminently, and wrought gloriously and powerfully on my behalf :

the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly, and appears to be far 17 superior to all his enemies. I shall not die, not fall in battle, but 18 live, and declare the works of the Lord. The LORD hath

chastened me sore, by a variety of enemies and afflictions : but he hath not given me over unto death ; he haih not suffered me to

be destroyed. He then addresses himself to the porters at the 19 sales of the tabernacle, Open to me the gates of righteousness ;

the gates into which the righteous enter 10 worship God: I will go

into them, [and] I will praise the LORD: the porters then reply, 20 This is the gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall en21 ter ; they and no o'her shall be welcome here, David adds, I will

praise thee for the liberty I have to come to thy house, from which

I have been so long banished : for thou hast heard me, and art 22 become my salvation. The stone (which] the builders refused

is become the head (stone of the corner ; though the politicians of the age linked upon me with contempt and scorn, as builders do upon a stone which is unfit to be set in the building, yet God hath

madi me the foundation and support of the state. The people then 23 reply, This is the Lord's doing; it (is) marvellous in our eyes. 24 This [is] the day, the famous, illustrious day, (which) the Lord

hath made remarkable by this marvellous work ; and we will re

joice and be glad in it. Then David offers up his petitions for 25 continued inercy. Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD : 0

Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity. Then the priests, 26 addressing David and his svarriors, say, Blessed [be] he that com.

eth in the name of the LORD : we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD ; we svelcome you here, and as the ministers of God pray that your reign may be long, prosperous, and happy.

Daoul then gives orders for offering up the sacrifices, and repeats 27 his thankfulne88. God [is] the LORD, which hath showed us

light : bind the sacrifice with cords, [even) unto the horns of 23 the altar. Thou (art) my God, and I will praise thee : [thou

art) my God, I will exalt thee. Then the king and his army, the 29 priests and the peonle all join in the grand chorus ; () give thanks

unto the LORD ; for (he is) good : for his mercy (endureth) for ever,

REFLECTIONS.

YROM the example of David we should learn to cherish and

T express a fervent gratitude for the past mercies of God to . us. Behold this illustrious warrior marching up in solemn procesSion to the house of the Lord, laying as it were his sword and his crown at God's feet; and appearing infinitely greater and more majestic in this attitude, than when engaging or pursuing his enemies. Thus let us give God the glory of all his favours to us ; especially those which have been extraordinary and remarkable ; such as near escapes from death, and from overwhelming enemies or calamities. Let us stir up ourselves to pray to him, and call upon our friends to join with us ; and while we live let us declare the works of the Lord, for his glory and the encouragement of others.

2. Let us learn from David, to maintain a humble, cheerful confidence in God in all future dangers. When they compass us about like bees, are many and troublesome, then let us trust in the name of the Lord ; which is better than to trust in man, though ever so wise and good ; yea, better than to trust in princes, be they ever so mighty,: for their minds may change, their strength fail, or their lives end. Let us endeavour by faith and prayer, to engage him on our side, then we need not fear. What can man do ? nothing but what God permits ; nothing but what he will overrule for good. The apostle applies this to all christians, Heb. xiji. 6. We may boldly say, the Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

3. Let us rejoice in the marvellous conduct of Providence, in the foundation he has laid for the hopes of his people in a Saviour so much despised. What David says of himself, v. 22. is expressly applied to Christ both by himself and his apostles, Matt. xxi. 42. I Pec. ii. 7. As David was despised, though chosen and anointed of God to be king, yet he was afterward raised to royal dignity, and so was Christ. The Jewish builders, the scribes and priests, who should have edified the church, rejected him, would not build upon him, or seek any union with hiin. But he was chosen of God: was a foundation laid by him ; he is become the head stone of the corner, which supports and cements the whole building, the church of believing Jews and Gentiles ; and he, as a living stone, gives spiritual life to all who are united to him ; This is marvellous in our eyes. Let us celebrate this constitution on every Lord's day ; a day which he hath inade and set apart for himself ; and let us rejoice and be glad in it.

4. Let us cordially welcome Jesus Christ, who cometh as the king of Zion. What was said of David, v, 26. Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord, is in Sluit. xxi. 9. used by the multitude that followed Christ, when he entered in triumph into Jerusalem. If the priests thus welcomed David, how should we wel. come his Son and Lord ! He cometh in the name of the Lord ; with authority and commission from him ; and to promote his glory in

« PreviousContinue »