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3. In every time of public or private distress« let us contemplate the works of God, and think of him as the ruler of the day and night; who opens the eyelids of the^morning, and draws the curtains of the night; who has appointed the revolutions of the heavenly bodies, and continues the regular succession of seasons: whose power therefore is not weakened. As summer comes after winter, and day after night, so we may hope for a happy change in the most distressing circumstances. He is faithful to his covenant of the day and of the night, and will have resfieci to his covenant with his people. Let us recollect what he did for Israel; what we have beard with our ears, and what our fathers have told us. The cause of religion is God's cause, and he will plead it'. Whatever his people suffer, and though many are the afflictions of the righteous, the Lord will deliver them out of them all.
To the chief musician, Altaschith, A Psalm [or] Song of Asaph.
This if called a song of Asafih; but. as it teem» to have been compo* tfd by a firinte or magistrate, and Asaph -was ori'y the leader of the tingert m the temple, it is more probable that it teas written by David, upon his accession te the crown, and was directed to Asajih, as the chief musician. He begins -with declaring his thank" fulness to Gidfor the establishment of his government,
1 T T NT О thee, Ó God, do we give thanks, [unto thee] do we
\_J give thanks: for [that] thy name is near, thy wondrous works declare ; thy wondrous works displayed in our behalf shorn that thou art near to us. Mr will I content my. elf with firauing
2 thee, tut When I shall receive the congregation, when all tlu people shall submit thcmsdves to m", I will judge the people uprightly.
3 The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear Up the pillars of it. In Saul'n time justice had been perverted, which occasioned such confusion, as if the founda'ions of civil government had been destroyed; but I will do all I cun to support its
4 sinking interest, by promoting religion and justice. Sclah. I said unto the fools, itn/iiou-i andftrofane persons, Deal not foolishly; and to the wicked, Lift not up the horn ; / mi/!put a stofi to their immoralities, and will not suffer them to exert their oppressive
5 power: Lift not up your horn on high^; behave not insolently:
6 speak [not with] a stiff neck against my governmrnl. For my promotion [cometh] neither from the east, nor from the west,
7 nor from the south. But from God, who [is] the judge, and will support me: it is he puttcth clown one, and setteth up another.
8 For in the hand of the Lord [there is] a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture ; and he pourcth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the cr.Mh s'.all wrir.j [them] out, [and] drink [them ;] an allusion to a custom in the east of destroying crimínala with floisoned wine. Good men may taste the cup of affliction, but the -very dregs belong to the ivicked, the most dreadful judgments shall be their portion : a weighty rea9 son why they should not be proud and presumptuous. But I will 10 declare for ever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; / mil deprive them cf their power; [but] the horns* of the righteous shall be exalted; they shall be raised te fasts of dignity and authority.
1. "\Ä7" E are taught from hence, to maintain a constant sense V V of the presence of God ; that his name, that is, he himself is near. All his works declare this; the course of nature, the daily operations of Providence; and especially his wondrous works for his church and people. Let us be careful to observe his works, to give him the glory of his omnipresence, and praise him as the author of all our deliverances and comforts.
2. Whatever we find to be advantageous in our circumstances, it is derived from God, and ought to be improved for him. Promotion cometh neither from the east nor from the meat, neither from one quarter nor another; but God is the judge. If our rank in life be distinguished, if our circumstances be plentiful and easy; if we have any authority or influence over others, or respect from them, we should thankfully ascribe it to God, and employ all for him; to discountenance evil doers, and weaken their power; to encourage, support, and keep in countenance those that are good.
3. Let us dread having our portion with the wicked, and think of the cup of trembling and indignation which shall be* put into their hands. Good men have sometimes a taste of this cup, even Christ himself had ; and the cup which our father hath given us, shall we not drink it? but the wicked drink the dregs of it, in the terrors of conscience now, and a fearful looking for of his vengeance ; and they shall drink of it for ever; for on the -wicked the Lord shall rain snares,ßre, and brimstone, and a horrible lemfiest: thi« ia the portion of their cup.
4. Let us be thankful to God for the good government we live under; remembering that promotion cometh from God. It does not depend on the people's choice who shall be king, nor on the king's choice who shall be ministers and rulers under him. God putteth down one and setteth up another. In this view we should recollect with pleasure and gratitude the wonderful revolution which he brought about in our country, in favour of our religion and liberties, when both were in imminent danger; and also the succession of the present royal family; when, in both cases, there seemed to be so many difficulties in the way, and so many of our leading men,
• Among the ancients horni were made me of as an emblem of power and authority. On miny ancient coins their princes are represented with herns, to denote that they were powerful princes- i
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»fuike ttnth a stiff"neck. But God hath favoured us with a righteoös and mild government, and continued it to this day, notwithstanding several attempts have been made to subvert it. May he long continue it, give us grace to own his interposition with all thankfulness, and to lead guiet and fie ace able lives, in allgodlinese and honesty.
To the chief 'musician on Neginoth, a Psalm [or] Song of Asaph.
Probably composed in ffezekiah's time on occasion of the destruction of the Assyrians, 2 Kings xix. to which it is extremely suitable. The Seventy call it A song vfion the Assyrians.
1 Tn Judah [is] God known, more evidently and undeniably JL than he formerly was, both by his gracious word, and miraculous works: his name [is] great, Лг'в divine perfections are magni
2 fied in Israel. In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion ; it is clearly known that his abode is there, by the
3 destruction of those enemies чо/ю attacked and insulted it. There brake he the arrows of the bow, or coals of the bow, that is, arroma which inflicted a burning -wound, the shield, and the sword,
4 and the battle. Selah. Thou, mount Zion, [art] more glorious [and] excellent than the mountains of prey; or, rather,from the mountains of prey: thou afi/iearest more glorious after so signala victory, and so sudden and terrible a slaughter of thine enemies.
5 The stout hearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep: and none of the men of might have found their hands; the Assyrian host are destroyed, they mere not able to strike a stroke, or defend
t themselves against the angel who attacked them. At thy rebuke, О God of Jacob, whom they reproached, both the chariot and horse, the charioteers and horsemen, are cast into a dead sleep,
7 the plague destroyed them both. Thoit, [even] thou only [art] to be feared: and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art
8 angry. We made our solemn appeal It thcc, and Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven ; hast pronounced a sentence of condemnation upon our enemies; the earth feared, and was still,
9 they were quite silent and confounded, When God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth; his helpless people, who
10 had patiently borne the insolence of the Assyrians. Selah. Surely the wrath of man, in other instances, shall praise thee ; shall make thy /¡raise more conspicuous, so that others shall learn to fear thy name : the remainder of wrath, what will not bejor thy glory
11 and the good of thy people, shall thou restrain. Vow that you will bring new sacrifices and honours to God, and pay unto the Lord your God what you have already vowed: let all that be round about him bring presents unto him that ought to be feared; let all -who shall /tear of this mighty work, bring their tribute
12 and homage to this awful Being. He shall cut off the spirit of princes; »halt mow them down like grass; which intimates how easily he can bring down the finde and haughtiness of their spirits, and destroy their lives: [he is] terribl« to the kings of the earth; to the greatest tinge who dare to blaspheme, intuit, and oppose him or his people.
1. XAT'E may with great pleasure apply these declarations to V V God's care of his church in general. Among them he is known. His perfections are known in some measure among the heathen; but most clearly among those who are favoured with the scriptures. He hath often appeared to weaken the strength of the mighty; to destroy the weapons of his insolent enemies, and sink them into a deep, irrecoverable sleep. And this is applicable to spiritual deliverances, to the triumphs of Christ over the enemies of his people, iahen he spoiled principalities and/towers, ascended on high, \ and led captivity captive.
2. Let us reverence this great and glorious Cod, who has such amazing power. He, even he only, ¿e to be feared: who can stand in hie sight when once he is angry. What a vast power and stretch of thought must he have, who can make the wrath of man to praise him, and subserve his own purposes: Let us tremble before him, who cutteth of the spirit nf princes, and, on that account, is terrible to the tings of the earth. He hath verified these words in his conduct to this nation. This great Being, whose are all hands and all souls, is greatly to be feared, and to be had in reverence of alt that draw nigh unto him.
3. We should be very solicitous to pay our vows unto God. It is our duty to bind ourselves by solemn vows to be his, for his we are, and are under innumerable obligations to serve him. But we must also remember our vows; it is better not to vow, than to vom and not perform. Let us bring our presents to him, though he needs them not; it is the way to show our gratitude, and our sense of the obligations we are under to him, and that we have received our all from him. The most acceptable present is our whole selves; let us therefore yield ourselves to God, and glorify aim in our bodies and
j'.irils which are his.
To the chief musician, to Jeduthun, A Psalm of Asaph.
The author of this ftsalm seems to have been a good man, but of a met-. ancholy disposition. It contains reflections on the afflictive scene* through which he had passed. The Jirst verse exfiresseth the issue of his whole experience. God at length heard him, and removed his Sr'tf: though (as lie shows more largely J it was a long time before he obtained that favour.
1 T CRIED unto God with my voice, [even] unto God. with my
2 JL voice; and he gave ear unto me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not; or, my head was watered in the night with tears that flowed filenti
3 fully: my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelm-. ed; I then thought on God, which used to be the noblest relief, yet I found- my soul incapable of relishing this divine consolation.
4 Selah. Thou boldest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak; / have restless nights and uncomfortable
5 days, and my trouble is so great that I cannot express it. I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times; what
6 God has done for me in the former part of tife. I call to remembrance my song in the night ;. my former songs: I com-, mune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search
7 into the reason why God has sent this affliction. Will the Loid
8 cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? deth [his] promise fail for evermore?
9 Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? have I so liighly provoked him, that'he will show me no mercy. Selah. -But I checked these gloomy thoughts.
10 And I said, This [is] my infirmity, that is, my distemper, these duubts and suspicions are dishonourable to God, and injurious to myself; [but I will remember] the years of the right hand of the most Higli; the years in which his power was exerted for his
11 people. I will remember the works* of the Lord: surely I will
12 remember thy wonders done of old. I will meditate also of all thy later work, and to impress them upon my mind, I will talk with
13 others of thy doings. Thy way, O God, [is] in the sanctuary; I know it is perfectly holy, but above our comprehension; who [is so] great a God as [our] God? Mne is equal to thee in pvaer
14 and in wkdom. Thou [art] the God that doest wonders : thou hast declared thy strength among the people, and showed that it exceeds both their strength and opinion, particularly in the deliver.
15 ance of Israel out of Egypt: Thou hast with [thine] arm re
16 deemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah. The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee : felt the effects of thy divine presence and power: they were afraid; the depths.