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the world in flames, rather with joy than with dread; as knowing, by those tokens, that the hour of his redemption is come, when " he shall see his enemies," and even death, the last of them, under his feet.
9. He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor, his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour.
His riches are not hoarded up, but "dispersed” abroad; and that not by others after his death, but by himself in his life-time; “He hath dispersed.” They are not squandered in the ways of vanity and folly, but "given to the poor;” nor are they given indiscriminately and at random, but "dispersed,” like precious seed, with prudence and discretion, according to the nature of the soil, and in proper season, so as to produce the most plentiful harvest. Therefore “his righteousness endureth for ever;" ils fruits and its good report are lasting among men, and it is never forgotten before God, who hath prepared for it an eternal reward. “His horn shall be exalted with honour, or, in glory;" whatever may be his lot upon earth, and even there the charitable man will frequently be had in “honour," at the last day, certainly, when the thrones of the mighty shall be cast down, and the sceptres of tyrants broken in pieces
, then shall he lift up his head, and be exalted to partake of the "glory" of his Redeemer, the author of his faith, and the pattern of his charity, who gave himself for us, and is now seated at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens.
10. The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away; the desire of the wicked shall perish.
The sight of Christ in glory, with his saints, will, in an inexpressible manner, torment the crucifiers of the one, and the persecutors of the others; as it will show them the hopes and wishes of their adversaries all granted to the full, and all their own desires” and designs for ever at an end; it will excite an envy which must prey upon itself, produce a grief which can admit of no comfort, give birth to a worm which can never die, and blow up those fires which nothing can quench.
ARGUMENT.-The servants of God are, 1. exhorted to praise his name, 2. at all
times, and 3. in all places, on account, 4, 5. of his power and glory, 6–8. of his inercy in redeeming man, and, 9. making the Gentile church to be a joyful mother of children. This Psalm is appointed to be read on Easter-day.
1. Praise, O ye servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord. 2. Blessed be the irame of the Lord, from this time forth, and for evermore.
Christians are the “ servants” of Jesus Christ ; and a most delightful part of their service it is, to "praise" his holy and saving "name" in the church, which now useth this Psalm among others, and with it “ blesseth the name” of her Lord and Saviour, from age to age.
The Psalmist wished and prayed that this might be done, and he foresaw that it would be done, while the world should last, upon earth, and afterwards " for evermore” in heaven.
3. From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same, the Lord's name is to be praised ; or, is praised. 4. The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.
At the diffusion of the gospel through the world, the name of Christ was praised “from the east to the west,” in churches everywhere planted by the apostles and their successors : and the grand subjects of joy and triumph among believers were, the superiority of their Master over the “ heathen nations” and their idols; the exalta- . tion of "his glory above the heavens," and all the powers therein; the might of his arm, and the majesty of his kingdom.
5. Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high? 6. Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in earth.
Highly as our Lord is exalted above this system, above these beavens and this earth of ours, yet he condescendeth to regard every thing that passeth here, and to make us the inhabitants of this lower world, and, for our sakes, all the other creatures in it, the objects of his peculiar care and paternal love.
7. He raiseth the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; 3. That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.
Such is the mercy to the poor sons of Adam in their fallen estate, that from the lowest and most abject condition, from the pollutions of sin and from the dishonours of the grave, he raiseth them to righteousness and holiness, to glory and immortality; he setteth them on high with the inhabitants of the heavenly Jerusalem, “ with the princes of his people,” the leaders of the armies above, with angels and archangels before his throne. What is the exaltation of the meanest beggar from a dunghill to an earthly diadem, when compared with that of human nature from the grave to the throne of God! Here is honour worthy our ambition; honour after which all are alike invited to aspire ; which all may obtain, who strive worthily and lawfully; and of which, when once obtained, nothing can ever deprive the
possessors. 9. He maketh 'the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord.
In the sacred history of the Old Testament, we meet with frequent instances of barren women who were miraculously made to bear children. Isaac, Joseph, Samson, and Samuel were thus born of Sarab, Rachel, the wife of Manoah, and Hannah. To these may be added, from the history of the New Testament, the instance of Elizabeth, the wife of Zecharias, and mother of St. John the Baptist. These examples may be considered as preludes to that marvellous exertion of divine power, whereby the Gentile church, after 80 many years of barrenness, became, in her old age, a fruitful parent of children, and the mother of us all.” Wherefore it is written, "Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate, than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord." Isa. liv. 1; Gal. iv. 27.
TWENTY-THIRD DAY.-EVENING PRAYER.
ARGUMENT.—This is another of the Psalms appointed by our church to be read on
Easter-day. It celebrates the exodus of Israel from Egypt, and the miracles wrought for that people, prefiguring the redemption of our nature from sin and death, and the wonders of mercy and love wrought for us by Jesus Christ.
1. When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language; 2. Judah was his, that is, God's, sanctuary, and Israel his dominion.
When Jehovah delivered Israel from the bondage of Egypt, he chose them for his peculiar people; his presence resided in their camp, as in a "sanctuary,” or temple; and he ruled them as an earthly king exerciseth sovereignty in his “dominions." This world, and the Prince of this world, are to us what Egypt and Pharaoh were to Israel. The redemption of our nature, by the resurrection of Christ, answereth to their redemption by the hand of Moses. When we are baptized into the death and resurrection of our Lord, we renounce the world, its pomps and vanities; and should, therefore, quit its corrupt "language," manners, and customs, with as much alacrity and expedition, as "the family of Jacob” left those of Egypt. We are the “sanctuary," the temple, in which Christ dwelleth by his Spirit; we are the subjects of his spiritual" king. dom,” we are his peculiar people; in one word, we are his "church," and succeed, as such, to all the titles and privileges formerly conferred on Israel.
3. The sea saw it and fled; Jordan was driven back. Although forty years intervened between the two events here mentioned, yet, as the miracles were of a similar nature, they are spoken of together. In the passage of Israel through the Red Sea, we may contemplate our passage from a death of sin to a life of righteousness through the waters of baptism; as our translation from death temporal to life eternal, is figured by their entrance into the promised land through the river Jordan. The waters in both cases are poetically represented as sensible of their Creator's presence, and by their retiring, and opening a path for the people of God, we are taught, that if we continue faithful, all obstructions will be removed in our way to heaven.
4. The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs. The tremours of Mount Sinai and the neighbouring hills, when
the law was given, afforded some specimen of that power which was afterwards exerted in the overthrow of idolatry, and the casting down of every high thing that exalted itself against the gospel at its publication. “See, therefore, that ye refuse not him that speaketh: for if they eséaped not, who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven; whose voice then shook the earth; but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven." Heb. xii. 25.
5. What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest ; thou, Jordan, that thou wast driven back? 6. Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams and
little hills, like lambs ? 7. Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob.
If the divine presence hath such an effect upon inanimate matter, how ought it to operate on rational and accountable beings? Let us be afraid, with an holy fear, at the presence of God, in the world by his providence, and by his Spirit in our consciences; so that we may have hope and courage in the day when he shall arise to shake terribly the earth; when “every island shall fly away, and the mountains shall be no more found.” Rev. xvi. 20.
8. Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters.
He who brought water out of the sacramental rock in the wilderness, hath since caused rivers of living water to flow through the world, from the rock of our salvation; nay, he hath dissolved the stony hearts of sinners, and made to spring up in them fountains of this water of life. For these great instances of his power and his love, we are taught to bless his holy name, when we sing this Psalm, as an evangelical hymn, on the day of our Lord's resurrection.
ARGUMENT.—The church, 1, 2. prayeth that God would glorify himself in her
salvation ; 3. she declareth her faith in him ; 4-8. exposeth the vanity and folly of idolatry ; 9—11. exhorteth her children to rely upon Jehovah ; 12–15. foretelleth how he will bless, prosper, and increase his people, 16–18. never suffering the voice of praise and thanksgiving to cease upon the earth.
1. Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake. 2. Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God?
Froin these two verses it is evident that the Psalm is not a thanksgiving for victory, but a petition for deliverance. God is entreated to "give glory,” by such deliverance, “not to us,” to our works or endeavours, but to his own name;" he is requested to vouchsafe salvation, not on account of our merits, but of his “mercy,” which inclineth him to be gracious; of his truth,” which disposeth him to fulfil his promises; and of his “honour," that the enemy may not have occasion to blaspheme him, and reproach his servants, as if their Master either could not or would not help them in the day of their distress. “ Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God ?"
3. But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased: or, he doeth whatsoever he pleaseth.
Should the insulting adversary ask the above question, “ Where is now their God ?" the faithful are ready with their reply, “Our God is in the heavens;" he is, where he ever was, upon his glorious throne, high over all the kingdoms of the world, and the powers of created nature; from thence he observeth and ordereth all things here below; what we suffer is by his appointment; and, at his good time and pleasure, he both can and will relieve us : " he doeth whalsoever he pleaseth."
4. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. 5. They have mouths, but they speak not ; eyes have they, but they see not. 6. They have ears, but they hear not; noses have they, but they smell not. 7. They have hands, but they handle not ; feet have they, but they walk not ; neither speak they through their throat.
A beautiful contrast is formed between the God of Israel and the heathen idols. He made every thing, they are themselves made by men; he is in heaven, they are upon earth; he doeth whatsoever he pleaseth, they can do nothing; he seeth the distresses, heareth and answereth the prayers, accepteth the offerings, cometh to the assistance, and effecteth the salvation of his servants; they are blind, deaf, and dumb, senseless, motionless, and impotent. Equally slow to hear, equally impotent to save in time of greatest need, will every worldly idol prove, on which men have set their affections, and to which they have, in effect, said, " Thou art my God."
8. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.
Idolaters, like the objects of their worship, are rather lifeless images than real men. What our Lord said of the Jews is applicable to them, and indeed to all who reject the knowledge of the true God, and the doctrines of salvation : “ Having eyes they see not, having ears they hear not." They see not the things which belong unto their peace; they hear not the word of instruction and exhortation ; they speak not of religion and the kingdom of heaven ; they work not the works of piety and charity; they walk not in the path of the divine commandments; they are spiritually blind, deaf, dumb, lame, and impotent; and when their idols are destroyed, they will perish in like manner.
9. O Israel, trust thou in the Lord; he is their help and their shield. 10. O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord; he is their help and their shield. 11. Ye that fear the Lord, trust in the Lord: he is their help and their shield.
Let the men of the world make to themselves gods, and vainly trust in the work of their own hands or heads ; but let the church repose all her confidence in Jehovah, her Saviour and Redeemer
, who alone can be her defender and protector ; more especially let