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filleth the pools; ixho, though they fias« through the sandy, uncomforlable valley of Баса, С the morst road to Jerusalem) make it a well; lit fir heart being so set on the journey, that they easily disfiense 4vith the inconveniences of the way, and are content with any standing water left in the pits dug for the purpose a/receiving
7 it. They go from strength to strength,from company to company; they overtake several companies and get before them through their eager zeal to be at thine house. Or, if we take it according to our translation, it intimates, that notwithstanding the length and. fatigue of the journey, they go on resolutely ; the body borrow* vigour from the mind, and the fervency of their love to thy house keeps ufi their spirits, and/¡reserves them from being tired; [every one of them] in Zion appeareth before God. These are happy persons, -with all their difficulties; but, alas .', I am kefit at a dis
S tance; therefore, О Lord God of hosts, hear тпу prayer to be.
9 restored to thy house ; give ear, О God of Jacob. Selah. Behold, О God our shield, the defence, if thy people, and look upon the face of thine anointed ; look favourably on me, thine anointed servant; behold which way my face is turned, even to thy tabertia
10 cle, where I long to be. For a day in thy courts [is] better than a thousand any where else ; pursuing the most profiiable business, or in scenes of pleasure: I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, Aavr the meanest office, and do the most servile work there, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness, inhabit the
11 most magnificent edifice of the wicked. For the Lord God [is] a sun to enligten our darkness, and shield, to protect us from every evil: the Lord will give grace, by the ttrergthening and comforting influences of his spirit, and glory ; future, everlasting glory; no good [thing] will he withhold from them that walk
12 uprightly, or sincerely. О Lord of hosts, blessed [is] the man that trusteth in thee ; who maintains an humble confidence in tiiy goodness, though he may for a while be deprived of these comfortable enjo'jmeals in thy house.
1. T E T us learn from this psalm, highly to value the ordinances JLi of religion ; to cultivate that fervent affection to them, •which David here expresses, and to esteem religious exercises, our most delightful employment. God's house is the most pleasant place, and the Lord's day, religiously spent, is better than a thousand days employed in sin or even in lawful business or pleasure. Let us learn to try ourselves by this mark whether we are godly, or not, by the love we have to God's ordinances, and the delight we take in them. It is to be fcnred, that when 'weighed in this balance, many will be found wanting, whom bad roads, or weather, often keep from the public assembly ; who are discouraged by every little difficulty or disorder, and who instead of pressing on (like the pious Israelites) to be the first there, appear every sabbath as if they studied to be among the last; as if they came with reluctance, and had no hearty inclination to the work before them. Blessed be God ! all are not of this mind: the ministerial work would then be more difficult and discouraging than it is.
2. Let us be thankful for the opportunities we have of going so frequently to the house of God. Very few among us have far to go; the word is nigh to us; and God's sanctuary is near at hand. Blessed be God, that we are not like the psalmist, driven by our enemies to a distance from our own houses and from God's temple. Let us be thankful for the superior advantages we have for knowing God and our duty, and of enjoying communion with' him; and for: he fuller communication of the spirit, which we have reason to expect. This should make us value our privileges, and glorify God in the improvement of them ; else we may provoke him in righteous judgment to lay us under the restraints of^rovidence, and by pain and weakness confine us from his house.
3. We should labour to secure the favour of God, as the consequence of all our approaches to him. We should often think of the blessed God in this amiable view, as our чип and shield, our light, and our defence. If we walk uprightly, are sincere and spiritual in our worship, and have our conversation in simplicity and godly sincerity, he will enlighten and .protect us, give us grace here, and glory hereafter; every good thing in this world, and heaven at last. In the use ol these means, let it be our prayer and endeavour that we may go from strength to strength, till we join with our fellow Christians in the work and service of heaven.
To the chief musician, A Psalm for the sons of Korah.
This finalm seems evidently to have been written aßer the return of the Jeivs from ßabylon, firobably while the building of the temfile vías interriifited in Ezra's time by the evil suggestions of their adversaries.
1 T O R D, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast .1 -^ brought back the captivity of Jacob, and thertby showed that
2 Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin; their idolatry and other sins, for which they had been
3 sent into cafitivity. Selah. Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned [thyself] from the fierceness of thine anger, which othertuise would like fire have consumed us; but still our
4 enemies ofifiose our comfortable settlement, therefore Turn us, О God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease; com/ileti the deliverance, and remove those neto -vexations and all
5 the evils we groan under. Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations? it is enough that former generations have felt it so heavily, and we ho/led that
6 this would have a respite. Wilt thou not revive us again ; not onli/ establish our liberty and prosperity, but revive thy
and the interests of religion; that thy people may rejoice inthee,
7 without any thing to damp their pleasure? Show us thy mercy,
8 О Lord, and grant us thy salvation. I will hear, diligently attend to, what God the Lord will speak in answer to these prayer»; I will attend to the operations of hie providenc e, and the secret intimation» of hi* spirit to me; for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.
9 Surely his salvation [is] nigh them that fear him; / have a cheerful persuasion that it is so; that glory may dwell in our land, by the restoration of his worship among us, and rnuking it effectual
10 to the purposes of /¡radical religion. Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed [each other,] tike
friends that had been long absent; sobriety,justice, fieace, and good
11 order prevail among us. Truth shall spring out of the earth, like plana after a long winter; and righteousness shall look down from heaven; a righteous God shall look down -with pleasure and
12 approbation upon us. Yea, as a proof of it, the Lord shall give [that which is] gond; and our land shall yield her increase; fit
13 »hall grant из abundance of plenty. Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set [us] in the way of his steps; our reformation alrnll bring us into the way of his blessing; and ae he passet èy, he will ojien his hand and shower down blessings upon ив.
1. T ET the psalmist's prayer, resolution, and hope, be ours. 1 ^ We here see what this pious man was chiefly concerned about, namely, the presence and blessing of God, and the revival of religion. Let us be frequently offering up these petitions for our bud, that God would turn its from our ininuity, and cause all the tokens of his anger to cease; that he would revive his own work, the work of religion, and show mercy to a guilty people, who deserve his fierce anger. Let us, with the psalmist, call to remembrance our past experience of his goodness and mercy, as an encouragement to our prayers.
2. Let us resolve, with the psalmist, to hrar what God the Lord •will speak. If we expect that.he should hear our prayers, we must hear what he commands; what lie speaks by his providence and by his word. Whatever public alarms and calamities aficct us, he 4i>ill speak /leace to his people; and as far as we enjoy that peace, we should be thankful, and be very careful that we never return to folly. This would show the highest ingratitude, and provoke him to turn upon us, and do us hurt, after he hath done us good.
3. Ltl us encourage ourselves with the hope, that if we continue in prayer, and arc obedient to God's voice, justice, truth, mercy, ami peace, will abound in our land; and the happy consequence of that will be all national prosperity. Ltl us observe and remember how justly this noble description is npplicable to the blessings of the gospel. God's salvation is nigh to ut; the J'lory of Christianity dwell» in our hod. In the scheme of redemption by Christ, God's mercy and truth, his righteousness and reconcileableness, appear in perfect harmony; through this scheme, all spiritual blessings abound tous; God hath set us in the ivay of his ste/ia; in the way that he approves; in the way which leads to everlasting happiness; Oh that we may be careful never to depart from it!
A Prayer of David.
Written in a time of great distress. It is remarkably filain and intelligible, without any fioeticalßights, as all our firaycrs should lie j and will therefore need very little illustration.
\ TÎ O W down thine ear, О Lord, hear me: for I [am] poor
2 JD and needy. Preserve my soul; for I [am] holy, that it, devoted to thy service, and innocent of what my enemies lay to my charge: O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee.
3 Be merciful unto me, O Lord : for I cry unto thee daily.
4 Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, dd I
5 lift up my soul. For thou, Lord, [art] good, and ready to forgive ; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.
6 Give ear, О Lord, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of
7 my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon
8 thee: for thou wilt answer me. Among the gods [there is] none like unto thee, O Lord ; neither [are there any works]
9 like unto thy works. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, О Lord, and shall glorify thy name ; referring to the many firoselytes made to the Jewish religion in David's and Solomon's time, and it may extend to the sfiread
10 of the gosfiel. For thou [art] great, and doest wondrous things:
11 thou [art] God alone. Teach me thy way, О Lord ; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name ; let it be entirely free from dittracting cares and fears, constantly employed
12 in thy service, and may all my affections center in thee. I will praise thee, О Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will
13 glerify thy name for evermore. For great [is] thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest
14 hell) from the grave. О God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent [men] havte sought after my soul,
15 or life ; and have not set thee before them. Bul thou, O Lord, [art] a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering,
16 and plenteous in mercy and truth. О turn untóme, and have mercy upon me ; give thy strength unto thy servant, and bave the son of thine handmaid; Лоте resfiect to the prayers, the /earn,
17 and the fàety of an aged mother. Show me a token for good; that they which hate me may see [it,] and be ashamed: because thou, Lord, hast hoi pen me, and comforted me ; not only fireserved me, but made me comfurlubli, by the tokens of thy ftv-att and friendship.
1. "\T7"E are nere taught how to conceive of the blessed Coa, VV especially in our addresses to him; as -very great; asa Being whose nature and works are unparalleled ; as the former and ruler of all nations: and likewise consider him as -very good; ready to forgive ¡ merciful, and plenteous in mercy. We should particularly observe and acknowledge that mercy in our eminent deliverances from death ; and especially in the deliverance of our souls from hell, by his pardcming and renewing grace. This goodness of God is a great encouragement in all our addresses to him. It is a great comfort, when we meet with cruelty, unfaithfulness, or unkindness from men. Let us therefore entertain great and honourable thoughts of God, and give him the glory of las goodness and mercy.
2. We learn from the example of David, to be constant and fervent in our applications to the throne of grace ; to cry unto. God daily ; make euftfiUcation, and lift ufi our fouls to him. The lifting up of the eyes and hands, and bending the knees, will avail nothing, except the soul be lifted up and our hearts sincerely and devoutly accompany the words we utter, or those we hear from the person who leads the devotion. If we hope for help in answer to our prayers in times of adversity, we must make a daily serious business of prayer in times of prosperity. The neglect of this duty is the source of great wickedness, -v. 14. Setting God before us, and daily conversing with him, will keep us from offending him and injuring our fellow creatures; and then lie "will rejoice our soul».
3. We should especially pray that our souls may be engaged in the fear and service of God. A most excellent, important, and comprehensive petition this is, that he would unite our hearts in his worship; that our hearts may be sincere, our thoughts fixed, and that we may serve him without distraction : that in our Christian work we may not be double minded, and have our hearts divided between God and the world; that we may be fixed for him, notwithstanding every temptation; and that all our aims, views and intentions may be to please ami glorify him. The influence of his spirit is necessary to produce this effect; and that he would bestow it, should be the subject of our fervent prayer; and with these we must also join a care to keeft our hearts ivith all diligence.
4. The children of religious parents should plead their relation to God and to them. Thus David pleads for mercy because he was God's servant, and the son of Me handmaid. He had a pious mother, from whom he received excellent instructions, and a good example. Let children who have been solemnly devoted to God by their pious parents, and entered into his church and family, remember that they are his servants by an indisputable claim; and if they observe the rules, and submit to the discipline of his family, they are entitled to the privileges of it. Let them never forsake their fathers' God; remembering, that if they seek him, he mill be found of them; but ¡hat if they forsake him, ht will cast them off'for ever.