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their joys but for a time, he is now inflamed with the love of God, and breaketh forth into these godly words and sentences : Who can delight me in heaven but thou, O Lord ? Whom shall I love upon the earth; whom shall I reverence and honour but thee? Doubtless, of all things except thee, I pass nothing of, nor set store by. Thee only I embrace, thee only I desire, and thee only I covet and wish for ; for only thou art to be beloved, to be honoured, and to be wished for: so that both my soul and my body be ravished with the love of thee; for thou art the strength and foundation of my soul and body; thou art my riches, my treasure, and my everlasting inheritance.
27. For lo, they that forsake thee shall perish: thou
hust destroyed all them that commit fornication
against thee. 28. But it is good for me to hold me fast ly God, to put my trust in the Lord God.
THE PLAIN EXPLANATION. And good cause bave I, O Lord, to love thee: for they shall perish and be destroyed, as many as I love any thing besides thee, and forsake thee: therefore, as I know it profitable only to prefer thee, O Lord, in all love and favour; so is it meet that I, being thus saved by thy mercy, and receiving so many benefits at thy hand, should continually with laud and praise celebrate and magnify the marvellous works of thy goodness and providence. The End of the Paraphrasé or plain Explanation.
THE PRINCIPAL PARTS OF PSALM LXXIII.
Ver. 1. Truly God is loving to Israel, &c. The first part is contained in the first verse, and it declareth that God loveth the.good, although he punisheth them.
Ver. 2. My feet were almost gone, &c. The second part is contained in the second verse, and it declareth how weak and frail a thing the nature of man is, and upon how small an occasion it is in danger to fall from God. Ver. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,8. Iwas grieved at the wicked, &c.
The third part is contained in six verses that follow, wherein the felicity of wicked men consisteih, that good men be so sore grieved at. Ver. 9, 10, 11. Therefore fall the people unto them,
&c. The fourth part is contained in other three verses next ensuing ; and it declareth how frail, brittle, and weak a thing man is, that for every trifle turneth and withdraweth himself from God. Ver. 12, 13. Then have I cleansed my heart in
vain, &c. The fifth part is contained in two other verses next following ; and it declareth how soon men repent their well doings. Ver. 14. Yet, and I had almost suid even as they, &c.
The sixth part is contained in one verse next following; and it declareth how great a danger it is temerously to judge of God, or of God's people, with, out the word of God. Ver. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21. Then thought I to understand this, but it was too hard
for me, &c. The seventh part is contained in seven verses next following; and it declareth that man's reason is but ignorant and beastly in considering of God's works, until it be illuminated by God and his word ; and
then is made open, how vain all things be that wicked men possess in this world. Ver. 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27. Nevertheless I am
alway ly thee: for thou hast holden me ly my right hand, &c. The eighth part is contained in six verses next following unto the end of the Psalm; and it declareth a wonderful and unspeakable consolation. For although we be grievously tempted, yet we be. not forsaken of God, but preserved and lift up, when else otherwise we should fall. And in this part, in setting forth the multitude and number of God's consolations, he draweth near the end of the Psalın, and concludeth it with this text, “I will set forth thy works." Wherewith he declareth that he will be thankful unto God for his great gifts and mercy The End of the Parts and chiefest Matters in the
WHAT THINGS ARE TO BE MARKED OUT OF THESE
PARTS AND MATTERS OF THE PSALM.
THE FIRST PART are many things to be noted. First, the nature and condition of God (forasniuch as he hath prepared for men a place of joy permanent and everlasting), is not to reward such as be his, and ordained to the life to come, with so slender and small a recompense in the blood of his Son Jesus Christ, as these worldly and transitory things be of this world (Matt. vi. Coloss. iii. 1 Cor. xv. Matt. xxv. Sol. Song, iv.) ; but with riches and treasures that shall not corrupt nor be eaten with vermin, nor yet taken from us by thieves. (John, xvii.).
As St. - Paul saith, “ He hath made us to sit with him in the
glory of heaven.” (Ephes. ii.)' And as Christ said unto Peter, that became a beggar with the rest of the Apostles in this world, for Christ's sake: 6 Ye shall (saith Christ) sit upon the twelve seats, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matt. xix.)
We must therefore note out of this place of the Prophet's Psalm, that God, although he whip and scourge us, as we have most worthily deserved, yet he loveth us, and will not take his mercy from us, but once leave beating of us, and burn the rod; and then in Christ reward us with everlasting life. In any case, therefore, we must well assure ourselves in the days of God's punishments, that the end of his crosses and afflictions be the beginning of everlasting joys. For he receiveth none but such as he first correcteth and chasteneth. (Rom. viii. Luke xxii. Psalın cxix. Rev. vi. xxvii. xxii. Isaiah, lv. Hos. i. Heb. xii.)
The second learning in this part, is to be persuaded, that God doth not punish without just cause, for that he delighteth in punishing of his people. As the wicked Pharaoh, Nimrod, Saul, and Julian the apostate said, when he had drowned all the world with water for sin, the wicked people judged, that God had punished of a partial and choleric passion in his fury, without just matter and cause. (Isa. li. Rom. iii. Exod. xiv. Gen, x. Sam. xxviii.) And therefore they went about, in contempt of God, to build a tower so high that God' should never have been able to wreak his wrath upon them again. So did cursed Pharaoh ; he asked what God that should be, that could plague him and his realm? (Exod. v.) and in the time of his punishment railed and spake most unreverently. Wicked Saul also, when God for his disobedience punished him, he, in despite of God, sought remedy to withstand the punishments of God by
witcheraft and necromancy. (1 Sam, xxvii.) And Julian the Emperor, when Christ gave him in the wars bis death-wound, took an handful of his own blood, and hurled it in despite of Christ into the air, and said, “ Thou hast overcome, thou Galilean;" and so in mockery he called Christ and Christian men Galileans. Wherefore, in any case this beginning of the Psalm is to be marked, and used in the time of all men's punishments, and to say with heart and mouth unto the heavenly Father, whatsoever he layeth upon us, “ Truly God is loving unto me," &c. And so doth King David cry out, when God was most severe and busy in punishing both him and his people, saying, “Thou art just, Lord, and right: and just is thy judgment.” (Psalm cxix.) So did the Emperor Maurice say, when his wife and children were killed before his face, " Thou art just, Lord, and thy judgments are righteous."
Job likewise was of the same mind: although his wife and kinsfolk provoked him to speak impatiently and irreverently of God; yet he said, that he and all his were the Lord's, and that if he had taken them of hin, why should not he be contented, that God should have them again at his pleasure ? (Job, i. ii.)
These two notes are to be marked and used, whatsoever happen: first, that God purposeth to bestow heavenly pleasures and treasures upon bis people ; and therefore he will not reward them with the trash and wicked mammon of this life, and transitory vale of misery. The second, when he punisheth his in this world, it is of lave; and that the person afflicted must both take it so, and also say so with this Prophet Asaph, “ Truly God is Joying unto Israel ;" that is to say, to him that professeth his religion. (John, xvi. Gal. v, Col, i.
Thes, i. Heb. xii. James, i. 1 John, i.)