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happy, surely, are we in a Master, who himself, for our salvation, once lived, and prayed, and suffered, and died, in “the form of a servant." Phil. ij. 7.
3. Be merciful unto me, O Lord, for I cry unto thee daily. There is no man upon the earth but needeth " mercy;" he who is truly sensible of his need will “cry daily” for it; and he who doth so may comfort himself with the hope of obtaining it. The prayers of Jesus, poured forth for the salvation of his mystical body, in the days of his flesh, were frequent and mighty; his intercession for us in heaven is continual. Does the man believe this, who prays not at all, or who prays without devotion ?
4. Rejoice the soul of thy servant ; for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
Sorrow was the portion of Christ in this world, and the church hath no reason to expect any other from it. He that would have real "joy” in his heart, must beseech God to give it him, for no creature hath it to give. Nay, the love of the world must be renounced, before this divine gift can even be “received." The affections must be loosened from earth, and “lifted up” to heaven, on the wings of faith and love; for in the soul that is full of sensual pleasures and indulgences, there is neither room nor taste for spiritual delights.
5. For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive: and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call
thee. We are encouraged to "lift up our souls to God" in prayer, because his "goodness," and the "plenteousness of his mercy" in Christ Jesus, incline him to give his holy Spirit of peace and confort to "all that call upon him." His favour is no longer confined to Judea; there is now no distinction of age, condition, or country: but the sinner, whoever or wherever he be, if he call upon the saving name of Jesus, is heard, pardoned, and accepted, upon the terms of the evangelical covenant.
6. Give ear, O Lord, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. 7. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee ; for thou wilt
In confidence of an "answer," nourished and strengthened by all the foregoing considerations, the suppliant renews his prayer, while “the day of trouble” lasts; and that day will not end, but with this mortal pilgrimage; since he who loves his country, will ever be uneasy while he is detained among strangers and enemies, perils and temptations. But the trouble is overpaid with profit, which rendereth us adepts in the practice of devotion, which convinceth us that we are abroad, and maketh us to wish and sigh for our true and only home.
8. Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works.
Another reason why supplication should be made to Jehovah, is his infinite superiority over all those that, by infatuated men, were
ever called "gods." From the ancient idolatry, which taught adoration to the sun, moon, and stars, to the light and the air, we have been delivered by the gospel : nor do we any any longer profess to worship Jupiter, and the other heathen gods and goddesses. But do not many still trust in idols, and have they not, in effect, other objects of worship, from whose hands they expect their reward ? Are not the hearts of the covetous, the ambitious, the voluptuous, so many temples of Mammon or Plutus, of Jupiter or Mars, of Bacchus, Comus, and Venus? But what are these deities; what is their power, and what are their gifts? What is the whole world, and all that is therein, when compared with its Maker and Redeemer ? What is it when applied to, for the ease and comfort of a wounded spirit ?_“Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works !"
9. Al nations whom thou hast made, shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.
The Psalmist predicteth that this superiority of Jehovah should one day be acknowledged throughout all the earth, when “peither in Jerusalem only, nor in the mount of the Samaritans,” but in every place, “ should men worship the Father;" Jobn iv. 21 ; when he who “made all nations” by his Son, should by that Son redeem all nations, bringing them from the world to the church, there to “worship before” the true God, and “in songs of praise to glorify his holy name.” If in these our times, we behold the nations again falling away from God, departing from the purity of their faith, and leaving their first love, let us comfort ourselves by looking forward to that scene of things described by St. John, in which we hope to bear a part hereafter: "I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, - saying, Salvation unto our God, which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb." Rev. vii. 9.
10. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things; thou art God alone.
“ Great” is Jehovah in his power, in his wisdom, in his mercy; -6 wonderful” in the creation of the world ; wonderful in the preservation and the government of it; wonderful in its redemption; wonderful in the incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, in the descent of the Spirit, the propagation of the gospel, the sufferings of saints, and the conversion of sinners; most wonderful will he be when he shall raise the dead, judge the world, condemn the wicked, and glorify the righteous. And then shall 'every tongue confess, “ Thou art God alone!”
11. Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth : unite my heart to fear thy name.
It is the continual subject of the Mediator's intercession above, and of our prayers below, that we may be “taught the way of Je
hovah," the way to life eternal, prepared for us, through faith and love which is in Christ Jesus ; that being so taught, we may likewise be enabled to walk in the truth," without error in doctrine, or deviation from duty ; believing all things which God hath revealed, and doing whatsoever he hath commanded us: that the affections of the “ heart” may be withdrawn from other objects, and, being no longer divided between God and the world, become “united” in the filial “ fear of his name," as the grand principle of action.
12. I will praise thee, O Lord, my God, with all my heart; and I will glorify thy name for evermore. 13. For great is thy mercy toward me : and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.
Gratitude for mercies already received, will obtain a continuance and increase of those mercies. The church is never in so afflicted a state, but she hath still reason to intermingle hallelujahs with her hosannas, and, in the midst of her most fervent prayers, to "praise the Lord her God with all her heart, and to glorify his name for evermore ;” since whatever she may suffer upon earth, (and even those sufferings will turn to her advantage,) "great,” most undoubtedly, "hath his mercy been toward” her, in "delivering" her, by the resurrection of Jesus from the bondage of sin, the dominion of death, and the bottomless pit of "hell."
14. O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul ; and have not set thee before their eyes.
From praises we return again to prayers. When Christ was upon earth, we know the treatment he met with from "proud and violent men, who had not set God before their eyes;" from self-righteous Jews, and conceited Gentiles, who rose up, and took counsel together against him.
What his church afterwards suffered at the hands of the same enemies is likewise well known. How much more she is to undergo in her latter days we know not as yet; but this we do know, that the spirit of the world stands, now and ever, in opposition to the Spirit of God; its design is always the same, although its methods of working be divers. Nor can we be ignorant of those domestic adversaries, that assembly of haughty and turbulent passions, which are continually making insurrections, and destroying the peace of the soul. So that either from without, or from within, every one, who is a Christian in deed, shall be sure to have his portion of tribulation.
15. But thou, () Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious; long suffering, and plenteous in goodness and truth.
Having taken a view of those that are against us, it is now time to look up to those that are with us. And can we have better friends than all these gracious and favourable attributes of heaven? Can more comfortable and joyful tidings be brought us, than that God loveth us with a father's love; that he is ready to pardon, slow to anger; and that we have his truth pledged for the performance of his mercy? What a fountain of consolation is here opened for the
afflicted Christian! “Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.” Prov. xxxi. 7.
16. O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid.
On the consideration of the above-mentioned attributes, a petition is in this verse put up to God, that he would "turn” his face towards us; that he would of his “mercy" pardon us, by his grace" strengthen” us, and by his power "save" us from all our adversaries. Every Christian is the “servant of God," and "the son of his handmaid,” the church ; which may say, in the same spirit of humility and obedience with the blessed Virgin,“ Behold the handmaid of the Lord.”
17. Show me a token for good, that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed; because thou, Lord, hast holpen me, and comforted me.
Many outward signs and “tokens” of the divine favour were in old time vouchsafed to patriarchs, prophets, and kings of Israel. The law itself was a collection of external and sacramental figures of grace and mercy. All these centred and had their accomplishment in that grand and everlasting sign and token of God's love to man, the incarnation of Christ, which all faithful people from the beginning wished and prayed for. On this sign the Christian looks with joy, as the great proof that God has “holped him and comforted him;" while his faith in it doth not fail, he bath the witness in himself, and his actions declare as much to all around him; " that they which hate him may be ashamed” and converted, before that day come when shame shall be fruitless, and conversion impossible.
ARGUMENT.-The prophet, 1–3. celebrates the stability and felicity of Sion;
4,5. foretels the accession of the Gentiles to her, and, 6. their enrolment among her citizens ; 7. extols her as the fountain of grace and salvation. The Psalm was probably penned on a survey of the city of David, just after the buildings of it were finished.
1. His foundation is in the holy mountains: or, It is his, i. e. God's foundation in the mountains of holiness'* 2. The Lord loreth the gates of Sion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
The Psalmist, after having meditated on the strength, the beauty, and the glory of Jerusalem, being smitten with the love of the holy city, and imagining the thoughts of his hearers or readers to have been employed on the same subject, breaks forth at once in this abrupt manner, “ It is his foundation on the holy mountains." By
Some commentators suppose this verse to be a part of the title, which will then run thus : “ For the sons of Korah, a Psalm ; a song, when he laid the foundation on the holy mountains.”
“the holy mountains” are meant those hills of Judea which Jehovah had chosen, and separated to himself from all others, whereon to construct the highly favoured city and temple. As the dwellings of Jacob in the promised land were beloved by him more than the dwellings of other nations, so he “loved the gates of Sion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.” Jerusalem was exalted and fortified by its situation ; but much more so by the protection of the Almighty. What Jerusalem was, the Christian church is; “ built” by God " on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone; in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.” Ephes. ii. 20. It is "his foundation in the holy mountains ;" she is beloved of God above the kingdoms and empires of the earth, which rise and fall only to fulfil the divine counsels concerning her. When those counsels shall be fulfilled in the salvation of all believers, the world, which subsists only for their sake, will be at an end.
3. Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. As the prophet began in a rapture to speak of the holy city, so now, in fresh transport, he changes the person, and suddenly addresses himself to it. The old Jerusalem was “the city of God, and glorious things were therefore said of it" by the Spirit. Pleasant for situation, and magnificent in its buildings, it was the delight of nations, the joy of the whole earth ; there was the royal residence of the kings of Judah ; there was the temple, and the ark, and the glory, and the King of heaven dwelling in the midst of her: her streets were honoured with the footsteps of the Redeemer of men ; there he preached and wrought his miracles, lived, died, and rose again ; thither he sent down the Spirit, and there he first laid the foundations of his church. To know what "glorious things" are said of the new Jerusalem, the reader must peruse Isa. Ix. and Rev. xxi. xxii.
4. I will make mention of Rahab, or, Egypt and Babylon, to them that know me: Behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopia, or, Arabia, this man was born there. 5. And of Sion it shall be said, This and that man was born ir. her; and the Highest himself shall establish her.
The accession of the nations to the church is generally supposed to be here predicted. God declares by his prophet, “I will make mention of,” or “cause to be remembered, Egypt and Babylon,” the old enemies of Israel, “to” or “among them that know me;" that is, in the number of my worshippers : “Behold” also “ Philistia and Tyre, with Arabia ;" these are become mine; “this," or each of these, “ is born there,” i. e. in the city of God; they are become children of God, and citizens of Sion ; so that “of Sion," or the church, "it shall be said, This and that man," Heb. "a man and a man,
,** i. e. great numbers of men in successiop, are born in her;"
* Dr. Durell renders **** D*X, “ The man, even the man,” that is, “ The man of men;" or, " The greatest of all men.” The reduplication, he thinks, according to the original phraseology, must mean the superlative or highest degree. He adds, accord