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trusted in the abundance of his riches, [and] strengthened himself, went on confidently, in his wickedness, and now see what is
S become of him .'* But I [am] like a green olive tree) fifth, fruitful, and useful, in the house of God, under hin immediate eye and care: I trust in the mercy of God, that he mill show favour tome
9 and my posterity for ever and ever. I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done [it ;] thou hast defended me hi /her to from this mischievous man, and wilt settle me on the throne : and I will wait on thy name, for the accomplishment of аЦ thy /iromises; for [it is] good before thy saints; this thy saints ha-ue always done, and have found the comfort ani benefit of it,
1. T E T us abhor the detestable character here described, who jL-J devised mischief, worked deceitfully, uttered devouring words, and then boasted of the success of them. It is to be feared there is a great deal of this wicked work among courtiers, to support their several parlies; and too much of it in lower life. It is a conduct which does incredible mischief in churches and families, and makes men appear like devils. Those who are mighty on account of their rank, wealth, weight, or influence, should guard against the licentiousness of the tongue, by which they arc capable of doing mischief in proportion to' the heightof their circumstances. May we all guard against lying misrepresentations ; telling half the truth, or putting an ill construction on good, well intended, or doubtful actions ; and be tender of reputation as well as of the persons and property of our fellow- creatures; remembering, that God is a witness to all falsehood, slander and misrepresentation. He abhorreth a lying tongue, and assures us, that all liars »hall have their fart in the lake that burneth with ßre and brimstone. An awful threatening, at which every liar should tremble.
2. We have great reason to be thankful, if we have not been ruined or injured by such mischievous men. If these vices should generally prevail, society would be dissolved, and no man's life, property, or comforts, would be secure.' Let us bless God if he hath preserved us from the scourge of a malignant tongue, given us wisdom and grace to behave lu an honourable and unblameable manner, and secured us from those slanders and misrepresentations, which even such a behaviour will not of itself be a security from.
3. Let us observe the vanity of earthly confidence, and fix our trust in God. fíe that tr.c.kcth not God his strength, has no strength to trust in; he that is high minded, and trusts in uncertain riches, acts wickedly, and takes the way to strengthen himself in wickedness; to become quite impudent in it, and abandoned to it. May we trust in the mercy of Cod, and n'ait on lus name ; all the saints have found it good to do so; and nothing else will guard us against the deceit-. fuluess of rich-os, the malice of wicked men, and the devices of wicked spirits. Therefore, turn thou to thy God, kecfi mercy and judgment, and wait on tftm continually.
To the chief musician upon Mahalath, the name of some musical watrument, Maschil, [A Psalm] of David.
This is almost the same in every particular as the fourteenth faahrt. That was probably composed on occasion of Absalom's rebellion, axti this when Sheba attempted to revive it after his death. He costw plains of the prevailing degeneracy of the Israelites, which was <*£' owing to the want of the fear of God, and a denial orfbrgelfkinesf of his providence.
1 r I 'H E fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. Cor
A ruptare they* and have done abominable iniquity: [there
2 is] none that doeth good. God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were [any] that did under
3 stand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; [there is] none that doeth
4 good, no, not one. Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge.' who eat up my people, [as] they eat bread ; by pursuing their own ambitious schemes, they bring distress and calamities upon the nation; and contending parties devour one another: they
5 have not called upon God. There were they in great fear, [where] no fear was; conscious that they had a bad causex they were terrifted before David's forces came near them: for God hath scattered the bones of him that encaropeth [against] thee; dtslroyed their power, reduced their bodies to dry bones, that is, utterly consumed them : thou hast put [them] to shame, because God hath despised them; O my soul, thou hast had success because God despised them, and dealt with them as contemptible
■ 6 persons. O that the salvation of Israel [were come] out of Zion ! When God bringeth back the captivity of his people, and delivers them from their present deluded state, in which they are enslaved by their own ambition and obstinacy, Jacob shall rejoice, [and] Israel shall be glad,*
To the chief musician on Neginoth, Maschil, [A Psalm] of David, •when the Ziphims came and said to Saul, Doth not David hide himself with us? They discovered to Saul where David had can-; cealed himself, 1 Sam. xxiii. 19.
1 QA V E me, O God, by thy name, thy mm immediate power, *3 and judge me by thy strength ; vindicate my cause by thy strength, which alone can easilyfree me from the assaults of my
2 enemies. Hear my prayer, O God, which is all that I have to
3 oppose to them; give ear to the words of my mouth. For strangers, the Ziphims, who indeed are Israelites by name, but have behaved like heathens, are risen up against me, and oppressors, Saul and his courcicrs} seek after my soul; they hare not set God. l>efore them, and only study to gratify their ambition or revenge.
4 Selah. Behold, God [is] mine helper, my firincifial helper: the Lord [is] with them that uphold my soul ; without him all my
friends and helpers are nothing, and would not be able to defend
5 me. He shall reward evil unto mine enemies ; inflict deserved fiunishment upon them : cut them off in thy truth; according to
the declaration of thy law against persons of such a character, and tS thy faithful promises of my preservation. I will freely sacrifice vinto thee ; liberally offer large sacrifices, with a cheerful mind: I will praise thy name, O Lord ; for [it is] good ; pleasing f to thee, and delightful to me. For he hath delivered me out of all trouble i* and mine eye hath seen [his desire] upon mine enemies; or,« mine eye hath looked upon mine enemy,' seen them just lying hold upon me, and then unexpectedly departing; so that J have /tad a most critical and extraordinary deliverance.
REFLECTIONS on Psalm tin, tiv.
1. TT'R O M the fifty third psalm we are taught seriously to lay JL to heart, and deeply to lament, the degeneracy of mankind in general, and especially of our countrymen and neighbours. The apostle Paul, in the third chapter of Romans, showing that all flesh had corrupted their way, quotes some passages of this psalm, to prove that this was the state of the Jews, God's own people. It is to be feared, that this is the character of the generality of men in every age; and it becomes us to lament it, out of regard to the honour of God, and a concern for the happiness of our fellow creatures; and earnestly to pray that the captivity of wicked men, their captivity to Satan and their own Justs, may be brought back, and they restored to wisdom and liberty, to virtue and happiness.
2. We learn from both these psalms, the necessity of maintaining a deep sense of God upon our minds. This is a lesson which the scripture often inculcates; and it is the most useful lesson in the world. The degeneracy of Israel, and of mankind in general, is owing to this, They seek not God, they call not upon his name. The Ziphites, (Saul and his party,) rose up against David, because they did not set God before them. May we be careful to set him before us ; this will keep us from injuring men, and from every other iniquity. No good can be expected from those that set not God before their eyes.
3. When God has delivered us from enemies and dangers, or distress of any kind, we should be free in our thanksgivings and praises. When God had turned back Saul, David declares he would praise God, and freely sacrifice to him. In order to this we should cultivate a grateful spirit, and abound in the good work of praising his name. Our sacrifices are those of praise ; these we should freely offer, with the greatest pleasure, and all the life and ardour we are capable of; for God loveth a cheerful giver, and with such sacrifices he Is well pleased. ■
• When Saul was hut seizing David, and their wni no opportunity of his etenplnf. word 'wv brought him th.tr the Phi J is tin rs had invaded Israel; so that Saul was obliged w go imfj'-duicly against thtai, and Oavid escaped, > S*m. xxiil. :;, -.8,
To the chief musician on Neginoth, Maschil, [A Psalm] of David.
Written on occasion of Absalom's rebellion, and AhithofiheCs ffonf over to him.
1 (~~^ TVE ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself
2 vJT from my supplication. Attend unto me, and hear me:
3 I mourn in my complaint, end make a noise; Because of the Toice of the enemy, my own son, who hath rebelled against rue, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me ; they charge me with tyfanny and bad administration, and rage against me in the most
4 violent manner. My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me, a dread of falling into their
5 hands, and being put to death by them. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. be
6 cause the conspiracy is so sudden, and so universal. And I said, Oli that I had wings like a dove! [for then] would I fly away,
7 and be at rest. Lo, [then] would I wander far off, [and] re
8 main in the wilderness. Selah. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm [and] tempest; from their noise and fury,
9 which threatens like a storm to bear down all before it. Destroy, O Lord, [and] divide their tongues, their counsels, and so they will perple.r one another, (which was remarkably the case, see 2
10 Sam. xvi. 7.) for I have seen violence and strife in the city. Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief nlso and sorrow [are] in the midst of it; those whose business it is to watch the walls, are continually flicking quarrels with their
11 fellow subjects, and introduce violence and strife. Wickedness [is] practised in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not
12 from her streets. For [it was] not an enemy [that] reproached me ; if it hod been a knovjn enemy that had aspersed my administration and disturbed my pence, then I could have borne [it] more contentedly, as expecting nothing else from such a one; neither [was it] he that openly hated me [that] did magnify [himself] against me, and built his fortune on my ruin: then I would
13 have hid myself from him, and secured nii/srlf against him. Hut [it was] thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance; my intimate friend, whom I trusted, and to whom I freely
14 communicated my secrets. We took sweet counsel together, hit company sweetened retirement; when I had that, I wanted none else; and we walked unto the house of God in company; J took him to he a good man, and thought we ivere bound in the
15 bond of religion as well as friendship. Let death seize upon them, [and] let them go down quick into hell, that is, into the grave, like Korah, Numb. xvi. 30. for wickedness [is] in their dwellings, [and] among them; they pretend a public spirit,
16 friendship, and religion, to compass their wicked designs. As for
me, Twill not injure other*, even for self preservation, but I will
17 call upon God; and the Lord shall save me. Evening, and •morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall
18 hear my voice. He hath often delivered my soul in peace from the battle [that was] against me, and he will deliver me from this present rebellion; for there were many with me, though many
J g are against me. God shall hear their refiroaches and my prayers, and mill afflict them, even he that abideth of old; that siiteih King for ever, and is always ready to hear and help his people. Selah. Because they have no changes, no crosses, nor disappointments, therefore they fear not God, and persist in rebellion
20 "gainst his anointed. He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him; alluding to the treachery of Ahithophel i as if he had said, I have done him no injury, but was at peact with him: he hath broken his covenant, all those obligations by
5l which he was engaged to me both as his king and friend. [Th6 words] of his mouth were smoother than butter, soft and insinw aling; but war [was] in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet [were] they like drawn swords, designed to inflict a mor
22 tal wound. Yet, O my Soul, think no more of this; but Cast thy burden, all thy cares and fears, upon the Lord, and he shallsustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved, that is, to be overthrown; labour to secure that character, and thou art
23 safe. But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction; into the grave, where their bodies shall be consumed and destroyed: bloody and deceitul men shall not live out half their days, half the time they might have erpec'ed in the course of nature, but they shall perish in the flower of their age f as Absalom, Ahithophel, and many others did: but I will trust in thee, that I shall finish my days in prosperity andpeate.
1. "I ET us not wonder if we, like David when in this distress, Jlj should find that the world is trouolesome, and our friends unfaithful. The rebellion raised against him, and the misery of his kingdom, afflicted him ; but nothing touched him so nearly as the infidelity and unkindness of his intimate friend. See in this another instance of the vanity of the world, of grandeur, and of friendship; how soon we may be driven from our habitations by violence or fraud, have iniquity cast upon us that we did not deserve, and be deceived in the characters of those who profess religion, and boast of their friendship \ Let us not be high minded, but far. We likewise may have occasion to wish for the wings of a dove, that toe way fiy aivay and be at rest; to get out of the noise and hurry of the world, the alarms of war, the voice of strife, and the slanders of enemies. Such scent3 as thess should wean our hearts from present things, and engage us to secure a portion in that teat which remains for the people of God.