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1. T E T us acknowledge and adore God, as the supreme and
_1 л universal sovereign. The Lord hath fire/iartd his throne in
the heirvens, and this earth, though at such a distance, and so small a part of his dominion, is not overlooked by him ; all that it contains is his property, and all its inhabitants are his creatures, his subjects and dependents, with whom he has a right to do whatsoever he pleaseth. The apostle quotes the first verse of this psalm, 1 Car. x. 26, to prove that we may freely use the gifts of his bounty; and that if partaking of any of them would be injurious to our health or conscience, he can provide for us some other way. Let the bounties and comforts we enjoy, lead our grateful hearts to the author of them. Let us trust in him to supply our wants, and leave it to him to govern his own world, without any complaints or suspicions on our part.
2. We should seriously make the inquiry, -v. 3. and attend carefully to the answer. It is an important question, who shall be an acceptable worshipper, and a favourite of this glorious king? A soul that understands its own nature, will soon be sensible that there is nothing on this earth which can satisfy its desires; and therefore will look to God and desire acceptance of him. Let us remember what is necessary to this, that our conversation be unbiameable; and not only so, but that our hearts be pure, purified by divine faith, and sanctified by divine grace; that we love not this world, but renounce its deceitful vanities, and have no guile found in our mouth. Thus alone can we be welcome guests at the house of prayer.
3. It is well if we can rejoice in hope of the blessing connected with this character. Such persons receive the blessing from the Lord; as much worldly prosperity as is good for them; they shall be justified before God through the righteousness of their Redeemer ; a principle of righteousness shall be cherished in their souls; and at length, they shall obtain sal-ua'ion with eternal glory. These are blessings inestimably precious; and they are promised to all pious worshippers, who come in the name of Christ, and viorshift in tfiirii and in truth. May we earnestly desire them, and labour after that character to which they are promised.
4. Let us solemnly admit this glorious sovereign into our hearts. He stands as it were at the door of our hearts; he knocks for admittance, and is ready to enter with the choicest tokens of his presence and love. Let us most cheerfully admit him, and let all the faculties of our souls be bowed to his sway. He comes to us by his word and ordinances, as he did to the Jewish tabernacle by his ark, the emblem of his special presence. Let us receive this sacred guest with all reverence and all readiness. If we keep God's word, he will love us, and corns unto us, and make his abode with us; and at length command the everlasting doors of heaven to be opened for us, and grant us an aí>'.¿nda?it entrance into the everlasting kingdom and joy of the
[A Psalm] of David.
Je was composed during tome of his troubles, eiltttr by Saul's persecutions or Absalom's rebellion. There is little in it that need» a particular illustration; it abounds with petitions for favour and mercy, mingled with many comfortable and edifying reflections upon God and his providence.
\ TTNTO thee, О Lord, do I lift up my 80ul; direct \^J and make known my desirts with tinccrity and fervour.
2 О my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, that in, disappointed of my hope from thee; let not mine enemies tri
3 umph over me. Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed; let them be ashamed which transgress without cause, thai is, nppose me itiithoutt any provocation, yea, against all law and obliga
4 tions. Show me thy ways, О Lord ; teach me thy paths.
5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou [art] the God of my salvation ; on thee do I wait all the day ; begging divine
6 guidance, which he stood in need of, and constantly sought. Hcmember, О Lord, thy tender mercies and thy loving kindness« es; for they [have been] ever of old; remember the goodnes* •which I have formerly experienced, and which thy people have ex
7 pericnced in all ages. But Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according; to thy mercy remember
8 thou me for thy goodness' sake, О Lord. Good and upright [is] the Lord ; gracious and faithful to his promises: therefore will
3 he teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment, wisely and judiciously: and the meek will he teach his
10 way; the way which God requires and approves. All the paths of the Lord [are] mercy and truth, all his providential dealing» are the effects of his mercy and faithfulness, unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies; who perform the conditions of
11 his gracious covenant. For thy name's sake, О Lord, pardon mine iniquity; for it [is] great, or, although it is great ; prob
12 ably referring to the matter of Uriah. What man [is] he that feareth the Lord? him shall he teach in the way [that] he shall
13 choose, which is most agr érable to the divine will. His soul shall dwell at ease; or, shall lodge and rest in goodness, in full satisfaction and ccmfort; and his seed shall inherit the earth, that is,
14 the land of Canaan, and shall be blessed after him. The secret of the Lord [is] with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant; they shall have secret direction in difficulties, some extraordinary discoveries of the divine will and designs ¡ more particularly of the nature and typical design of the law, and of the futurs covenant of grace. In consequence of this, he
15 adds, Mine eyes [are] ever toward the Lord ; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net; out of the troubles with which
16 / am almo.it surrounded. Turn thee unto me, and have mercy
17 upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged: [O] bring thou me out of my dis
18 tresses. Look upon mine affliction and my pain ; and forgive
19 all my sins. Consider mine enemies; for they are many ; and
20 they hate me with cruel hatred. О keep my soul, and deliver me ; /¡reserve my life from falling a firey to their ivickt-J designs:
21 let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee ; la me never takt any steps out of the way of duty, for I wait on thre for my security. He concludes with ¿¡raying for the kingdom in <•'»
22 present digressed state; Redeem Israel, О God, out of all his' troubles.*
1. |_Л ROM flie example of David we are taught, to seek divine JU guidance and direction. David, though a wise and good man, was sensible he had need of it. and there are a variety of circumstances relating to our temporal and spiritual interests) in which M-e need it. The way of man га not in himsttf: it is not in man that walki-th to direct hi» steps. Some doubtful cases will often arise, and on a wise détermination cf them, our own comfort, and the credit of religion, may very much depend. We should therefore seek daily guidance from the Father of lights; and in order to attain it, it is necessary that we lift ufl our souls to God, pray sincerely and fervently ; and that we be meek, have humble thoughts of ourselves, be diffident of our own wisdom, and ready to follow the divine leadings. Thus we should acknowledge God in all our wai/s, tnd fie vríit direct our »lefts.
2. Let us encourage ourselves in the promises made to God's people, especially to the meek and humble. God will teach them, hie way, and there is nothing so well worth our learning. We should attend particularly to that comfortable declaration in v. 10. All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keefl hit covenant and his testimonies; all his providential dispensations, how
'dark and severe soever, all come from love, are sent in mercy, are the result of his faithfulness to his covenant; he is only fulfilling his word when he corrects and afflicts us. Let it then be our care to be faithful to our covenant engagements, and to keep God's testimonies; then all wilt rjork together for our good.
3. We may here learn the way to be easy, comfoitable, and happy ; and that is, to fear the Lord. The souls of such shall dwell at ease, enjoy sweet inward content by day and night; they shall not be ruffled -and discomposed by the accidents of life, but enjoy rest in the favour of God, have his safe conduct and protection, and all desirable prosperity. That is most delightful encouragement in v. 14. which shows the great honour which God will put upon good
• The whole pealm h я collection of h:< tkvot't reflections and breathings, <o that a close со n'- « n-,-, cannot be expected; and those intcrjrstcn v*ug bare touche fcr It, have «lly otucured the «Loir.
Vol. IV. K k
men; The tecret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he trzS show them his covenant. The ward signifies a counsel, or a meeting of persons lo consult together. 'Good men shall be,as Mr. Howe expresseth it, of God's cabinet counsel ; shall know his conimutucable secrets, the meaning of his word, and the design of his dispensations; and shall enjoy such a state of friendship and comfort with him, as shall be most delightful and edifying.' Bleated is the man that jearelh the Lord.
4. Amidst all our personal troubles, let us never forget the distresses of our fellow creatures. We should think of God's Israel; the troubles which others endure; and especially those circumstances which appear to be threatening and distressing to the ehurcVi; and spread them before God in prayer, saying, Redtem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.
[A Psalm] of David.
ft tads probably composed* when he was acntsed by Saul and others if ill designs, particularly of seeking Saul's hurt, and endeavouring to embroil the govetnment.
-I TUDGE me, O Lord, give sentence for me, and plead my
J cause i for I have walked in mine integrity ; have behaved
uprightly to all men: I have trusted also in the Lord to avenge
my cause, and have not done it myself when it was in my power;
.2 [therefore] I shall not slide. Examine n.e, O Lords and prove
o me ; try my reins and my heart. For thy loving kindness,
• that is, a grateful sense of thy loving kindness, [ii] before mine
. J eyes: and I have walked in thy truth, by the rules of thy word i
or, in imitation of thy fidelity and truth, I have fulfilled all my
4 engagements lo others. I have been so far from falsehood and treachery, that I have not sat with vain persons, neither "Will I go
- in with, dissemblers; / will take no counsel with those who are
5 caballing against the government. I have hated the congregation of evil doers, all their meetings and confederacies, and will not
6 sit with the wicked. L. will wash mine hands in innocency; f will not be content with washing my hands before I go to the tabernacle, (as the priests xvcre required to da, and as the pious If raclites did J but I mil keep mysti/Jyee from all moral imparity:
•7 so will I compass thine altar, O Lord. That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, or raUier hear the voice of thanksgiving, thai is, the praises which are sung by the priests and Lc
... vites, and tell of all thy wowlrous Works ; may join in thent, end celebrate the favours I myself have received; and I shall appear
8 there with pleasure, jbr, Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house,' no: for low and mean ends, but that I might glorify thee i and the place where thine honour dweHeih; the taterretlt
9 where thy glory ia discovered by tht Shekinah. Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men; / have tucfi a dread of their fu'.ure fiorlion, that I earnestly firay I man not be numbered with them, nor heme »ucfi fiunishments as rbott art fire*
10 paring for bloody men: In -whose hands [is] mischief, and theitright hand is full of bribes ; who destroy and do mischief abroad,anß
11 pervert judgment, by taking bribes at home. But as for me, I wiH continue to walk in mine integrity: redeem me from mine enemies, and be merciful unto me: deiner me from every thing that
12 wiuldj injure or corrupt me. My foot standeth in an even place; hiihfrto I have been /¡reserved, there/ore in the congregation« •will I bless the Lord; / will praise thee in the fiubäc assemblies of thy fieofile,
1. TT is an happy thing, amidst censures and accusations, tobe X able to appeal to God for our integrity. This is a great satisfaction when men censure us; when they will not hear what we have to say for ourselves, or will not credit our assertions. It is the •wickedness of men's own hearts which ttaches them uncharitable censures and suspicions; but God will sooner or later vindicate the character of his faithful servants; and this in the mean time in their rejoicing, even the testimony of their consciences.
2. We should be solicitous to secure such evidence of our integrity, as David had. Let us maintain a constant sense of God's goodness; observe, reflect upon, and be grateful for, his loving kindness; and endeavour to keep his laws, which are founded on eternal truth. Like him, let us avoid bad company; not only the society of profligate and abandoned sinners, but of vain persons, those who have no relish for any thing but gaming, mirth, and gaiety. The company of such is more dangerous to a Christian than that of profligate sinners; because he may apprehend less danger, and therefore not be so much on his guard. Let us be solicitous, like David, to love God's house. This will be a good sign that we love God, and have a relish for spiritual pleasures. If this be our character, we may comfortably hope that God will support and defend us, and that we shall escape that .dreadful punishment •which he will inflict on impenitent sinners and bloody men. Again,
3. We learn the necessity of purity, in order to our being acceptable worshippers. It is in vain to compass God's altar, and expect him to be favourable to our services, unless we wash our harub in innocence; that is, not only be free from gross sins, but from irregular passions and impure desires. This is the best preparation for holy duties, and what is absolutely necessary to their acceptance. If me regard iniquity in our hearts, the Lord will not hear nn. But as we are not, and cannot be perfectly innocent, and therefore, considered in ourselves, cannot be acceptable worshippers, we must fix our dependence on the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, apply to, the blood of spiinkling> and seek acceptance through the beloved