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for his mercy endureth for ever: 11. And brought out Israel from among them : for his mercy endureth for ever. 12. With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever. 13. To him which divided the Red Sea into parts : for his mercy endureth for ever. 14. And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever. 15. But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea : for his mercy endureth for ever, 16. To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever, 17. To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever. 18. And slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever. 19. Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever. 20. And Og the king of Bashan : for his mercy endureth for ever. 21. And gave their land for an heritage : for his mercy endureth for ever. 22. Even an heritage unto Israel his servant : for his mercy endureth for ever. 23. Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever. 24. And hath redeemed us from our enemies : for his mercy endureth for ever. From the works of creation, the Psalmist proceeds to those of providence and grace. He celebrates that mercy which rescued Israel from oppression, brought them out of the house of bondage, divided the sea to make a way for them, supported and conducted them through a waste, howling wilderness, crushed the might and power of those who opposed them, and at length settled them in the inheritance promised to their fathers. Eternal mercy hath in
Christ Jesus realized all these figures, and accomplished the great redemption, thus foreshadowed of old. The Israel of God hath been rescued from the oppression of Satan, and brought out of the house of spiritual bondage. In the waters of baptism the old man of sin is buried, and we arise triumphant, to sing the praises of God our Saviour, who from thenceforth supports and conducts usin our passage through the world, strengthening us in the day of battle against every enemy that opposeth us, until we enter the heavenly Canaan, promised to the fathers of our faith, and dwell for ever in the possession of peace. When we consider how God has thus “remember“ed us in our low estate,” and thus “ redeemed us “ from our enemies,” can we be weary of repeating, “For his mercy endureth for ever ?”
25. Who giveth food to all flesh : for his mercy endureth for ever. 26. O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.
The same bounty, which, in the natural world, provided proper nutriment for every creature, hath also provided for the spirits of all flesh the bread of eternal life. In either sense, Jehovah “openeth his “hand, and filleth all things living with plenteous“ness.” Be, therefore, his praise as universal and lasting as his mercy
The Israelites, captives in Babylon, 1, 2, describe their woful estate; and, 3, 4, the insults of their
masters. 5, 6. They declare their inviolable af
fection for Jerusalem: 7. pray that God would
remember the behaviour of Edom; and, 8, 9.
predict the destruction of Babylon. This Psalm
admits of a beautiful and useful application to the
state of Christians in this world, and their expected * deliverance out of it.
1. By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, 3yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
What an inexpressible pathos is there in these few words ! How do they at once transport us to Babylon, and place before our eyes the mournful situation of the Israelitish captives | Driven from their native country, stripped of every comfort and convenience, in a strangeland, among idolaters,wearied and brokenhearted, they sit in silence by those hostile waters. Then the pleasant banks of Jordan present themselves to their imaginations; the towers of Salem rise to view ; and the sad remembrance of muchloved Zion causes tears to run down their cheeks; “By the waters of Babylon we sat down, yea, we “wept, when we remembered Zion " Besides the use which may be made of this Psalm by any church, when, literally, in a state of captivity, there is a sense in which it may be used by us all. For Zion is, in Scripture, the standing type of heaven, as Babylon is the grand figure of the world, the seat of confusion, the oppressor and persecutor of the people of God. In these, or the like terms, we may, therefore, suppose a sinner to bemoan himself upon the earth—O Lord, I am an Israelite, exiled by my sins from thy holy city, and left to mourn in this Babylon, the land of my captivity. Here I dwell in sorrow, by these transient waters, musing on the restless and unstable nature of earthly pleasures, which pass swiftly by me, and are soon gone for ever. Yet for these, alas! I have exchanged the permanent joys of Zion, and parted with the felicity of thy chosen. Wherefore my heart is pained within me, and the remembrance of my folly will not let me rest night or day. O Zion, thou holy and beautiful city, the temple of the Lamb, the habitation of the blessed, the seat of delight, the land of the living, when shall I behold thee P When shall I enter thy gates with thanksgiving, and thy courts with praise? The hope of a return to thee is my only comfort in this vale of tears, where I am and will be a mourner, till my captivity be brought back, and my sorrow be turned into joy. 2. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. The additional circumstance, which the divine painter hath here thrown into his piece, is, to the last degree, just and striking. It was not enough to represent the Hebrew captives weeping, on the banks of the Euphrates, at the remembrance of Zion, but, upon looking up, we behold their harps unstrung, and pendent on the willows that grew there. The sincere penitent, like them, hath bidden adieu to mirth ; his soul refuseth to be comforted with the
comforts of Babylon; nor can he sing any more, till pardon and restoration shall have enabled him to sing, in the temple, a song of praise and thanksgiving. 3. For there they that carried us away captives required of us a song ; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. 4. How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land ** The Babylonians are introduced as insulting over the Israelites, and scoffing at their faith and worship, not without a tacit reflection on their God, who could not protect his favoured people against their enemies. “Now sing us one of your songs of Zion; now let “us hear you sound the praises of that God, of “whom ye boasted, that he dwelt among you in the “temple which we have laid waste, and burnt with “fire.” Thus the faithful have been, and thus they will be, insulted by infidels in the day of their calamity. And “how,” indeed, “can they sing the “Lord's song in a strange land P” How can they tune their voices to festive and eucharistic strains, when God, by punishing them for their sins, calleth to mourning and weeping But then, Israel in Babylon foresaw a day of redemption; and so doth the church in the world; a day when she shall triumph, and her enemies shall lick the dust. No cir* Many singers were carried captives: Ezra ii. 41. These would of course take their instruments with then, and be insulted, as here. Their songs were sacred, and unfit to be sung before idolaters. But the words, “How shall we sing,” &c. are not an answer given to them, but the free utterance afterwards
of the feelings of the Jews among themselves. ANoNYMoUs NOTES IN MERRICK's ANNOTATIONs.