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'I. TET us, from David's example, Гедгд to declare our own .1 Л experience of the divine goodness with modesty: this is ao important part of Christian friendship and communion. We should» with David, acknowledge the interpositions of dh'ine providence and grace in our favour, and call on our fellow Christians to join with ua in magnifying them. The humble shall hear thereof, and be glad¡ and it will be a great encouragernept to the young and weak.
2. We should be desiroi\s to taste and see that the Lord is good т to have an appropriating sense of it, founded on o\jr own experience. A man can have no just ideas of fruits ov liquors without tasting them. Let us pray for an experimental relish of th,e divine goodr ness, arising from a serious contemplation of it; gratefully acknowledging, apd faithfully improving it. Then may we with a goo^ grace, and a probability of success, encourage others tp make the experiment, and so taste that the Lord is gracious. .v. . 3. Let us cheerfully repose ourselves on the divine protection, and never use any unlawful or doubtful jneaps to defend ourselves. Cpd will employ his angels to defend his servants; they encam/i about them that fear him; and they are too brave to be terrified, and too strong to be routed, by any hurnan host. We Deceive manykind offices from these holy and benevolent spirits; they will ni« »vs. protect the righteous^ when God sees it best they should be protected; and he will never leave the souls of his people desolate. Amidst all the desolations that h;s judgments m'ake op (¿ie earth» the immortal interests, of the righteous shall be."secure.
4. We are here shown the way to a happy and '. comfortable life. And what man is he who does not desire this? If we would atlain it, let us attend to the psalmist's exhortation to fear Corf, to do good, to depart from evit, and keeji our heart» and tongues fron} guile. The fear of God wiH lead us to practise the other duties^ recommended in this passage, which is quoted by St. Peter, \ P-et,. iii. 10—12.' where these duties are all enjoined upon us as Christians; and in» deed they are of perpetual and universal objigatfpn. Upon the whole, this psalm furnishes us with great and noble encouragement«., te fear, love, and serve God; as the only луау tp bc happy in thi% life, and to be saved from the wrath tocante. .,"
3 and stand up for mine help. Draw out also the spear, and stop [the way] against them that persecute me; that, if they »tuf persiat, they may run u/ion it: say unto my soul, I [am] thy
* salvation. I-et them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt. There ia a beautiful gradation in the original, Let them be ashamed, yea, confot nded, yea, turned back,
It yea, pierced quite through. Let them be as chaff before ther
6 wind : and let the angel of the Loan chase [them.] Let their way be dark and slippery ; let them go on with as much difficulty and distress, as a person does in slippery ways in a dark night • and let the angel of the Lord persecute them ; let those angels, who are the ministers of thy power and juatke, chasr and perse* ■
7 cute them that they may not rest nor escape. For without cause or provocation have they hid for me their net [in] a pit, [whichj
8 without cause they have digged for my soul; therefore Let destruction-come upon him at unawares; and let his'net that he
'hath hid catch himself; into that very destruction let him falL
9 And then my soul shall be joyful in the Lord : it shall rejoice lO in his salvation. AH my bones, which thou hast preserved, shall
extol thee, and say, Lord, who [is] like unto thee,' which deliyerest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the" poor and the needy from him that spoileth him? He then proceeds to observe how unkindly and treacherously they had behaved \\ to him. False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge
12 [things] that I knew not, They rewarded me evil for good [to] the spoiling of my soul; they drove me from my country and my father's house, and so made me an orphan, as the word signi^
13 fcs. But my conduct toward litem was quite different; as for me, when they were sick, my clothing [was] sackcloth: I; humbled my soul with fasting; and ray prayer returned into mine own bosom ; though it did not prevail for them, yet itbrought inward satisfaction to my own soul that I had done my
14 duty. I behaved myself as though [he had been] my friend' [or] brother: I bowed down heavily, as one thatmourneth [for his] mother; I was as constant in my inquiries, visits, and good'
15 wishes, as if he had been my nearest relation. But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: [yea,] the ahjects, poor and mean persons, gathered themselves together against me, and I knew [it] not; they did tear [me,] and ceased not, with their scoffs, slanders, reproaches and curses.
16 With hypocritical mockers in feasts, contemptible buffoons, who will say or do any thing to please those who entertain them, they gnashed upon me with their teeth; their scorn was carried to
17 such a height that they could even have eaten me up. Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions,
}8 my darling, my precious life, from the lions. I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people; / will give thanks before the whole nation at their
J9 sofemn feasts. Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully
rejoice over n»: [neither] let them wink with the eye, merk
to and inauli, that hate me without a cause. For they speak not
peace; they use nothing but threatening language ; tl.ey devise
deceitful matters Against [them that are] quiet in the land;
•? 1 they lay ftlots against me who desire to be a peaceable subject. Yea,
they opened their mouth wide against me, [and] said, Aha, aha,
our eye hath setn [it ;] they rax me openly -with being a traitor,
22 and /irefend thai they were eye vñtnetíet of it. [This] thou hast seen, О Lord: keep not silence: О Lord, be not far from
23 me. Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment, [even] unto
24 my cause, my Cod and my Lord. Judge me, O Lobd my God, according to thy righteousness, then I em виге to e«ca/¡e ¡ and
¿5 let them not rejoice over me. Let them not have reason to say in their hearts, Ah, so would we have it ; he is in the fair way to ruin; let them not say, We have swallowed him up: he is at
JjS length ac ually deetrcyed. Let them who Aove cons/rired together
. be ashamed and brought to confusion together, that rejoice at
mine hurt: let them be clalhed with shame and dishonour that
27 magnify [themselves] against me. Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say
. continually, Let the Loud be magnified, which hath pleasure
28 -in the prosperity of his servant. And my tongue abo-vr alt . ethere, as lam under /larticitfar cbligaiicns, shall speak of thy
righteousness [and] of thy praise all the day long.
E may observe, that it is no new thing for the best of men to be persecuted, and the most peaceable subjects to be falsely accused. David the servant of the Lord, was most bluinu fully and injuriously treated ; and though one of Saul's best subjects, he was most insolently abused, and virulently persecuted. Good men, generally speaking, are the qvitt in the land; they pay their dues, :md live in all dutiful subjection Yet deceitful matters are often devised against them, and they are represented as enemies tb Ctsar, as 'troublers of Israel, arid injurious to kings and provinces. Therefore laws are made to ensnare and ruin them; and rten of bad characters are often employed to hunt them down.
2. How desirable is it to have the supreme Lord and judge for our friend, and to be able (o appeal to him for the righteousness of our cause, and the integrity of our conduct. It is a mercy that we live under a government, to which we can appeal when injured and deprived of our rights, and can meet with redress. But many cases occvir in which the laws afford no relief; in which the most wise and honest kings can do nothing. Let us therefore rejoice in God'» universal government, and be solicitous to secure his guardianship. \Ve should especially make it our prayer that he would say unto our seuls, I am your salvation, and give us a comfortable assurance of our interest in his favour. This will afford abundant support under every difficulty and trouble. Let men curse, if the Lord will but bless«
9. Lret us abhor the odious ingratitude and baseness of David's enemies, and imitate the gentleness and benevolence of his temper. We can scarcely conceive any thing more base, treacherous, and ungrateful, than their conduct; or more humane, friendly, and affectionate, than his. Who would not rather have been the aspersed, persecuted David, than the most powerful and successful of his enemies? May we be upright, friendly, and compassionate j and endeavour to secure the character of faithful, tender friends, however ill we may have been treated. It will be a great satisfaction when we are under injuries and neglects, that we never gave cause for them; yea, that we might have expected returns of kindness, sympathy, and respect. To the affection of the man, let us add the piety of the saint. Then our prayers will return into our ««»j bosoms ; they will at least afford us satisfaction ; and God will remember them for our good.
4. Let us reflect on the amiable idea here given of the blessed God, that he taketh pleasure in the protperity of his servants, v. 27. Not of this church and people in general only, bnt of every particular servant, however mean and despised. He consults and is pleased with their happiness. If he afflicts, it is not willingly, but to promote their best mk highest prosperity; and he rejoices to see the end answered. He makes the souls of his servants prosperous; takes pleasure in their improving graces and comforts, and will at last rejoice in their final salvation. In the recollection of this we should say, Let the Lord be magnified, and speak of his righteousness and his praise all the day long.
To the chief musician, [ \ Psalm] of David, the servant of the
It is most likely that this psalm was composed after David had discovered Saul's malicious designs against him.
1.r I 'H E transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, JL [that there is] no fear of God before his eyes; the wickedness of mine enemies appears so plain, that it proves to me that they have no sense of. God's omniscience, no reg'ird to his author:''
2 ty, nor fear of his displeasure. For, or nevertheless, he flattereth himself in his own eyes that he shall not be discovered, until his iniquity be found to be hateful; till it It-comes apparent, and
3 renders him odious in the sight of men. The words of his mouth [are] iniquity and deceit :* he hath left off to be wise, [and] to do good; he becomes an open apostate from what he once profess
4 ed; and whatever public declarations he makes, He devisettl
• S.iul pretended friendship, and therefore Rave him hi* dniwhrer, hut hoped by the terms it ixpoxj upon him that he would tlis in battle, -ir b_-Jusuo; cdi>y pttwte m«»inaiioit.