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tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandment1*
173 [are] righteousness: Let thine hand help me; for I hare? , chosen thy precepts as my treasure and guide, that is, I will keep
174 them and be guided by them. I harve longed for thy salvation, O Lord; and thy law [is] my delight, while that saltation is de-
175 layed. Let my soul live, prolong this temporal life, and give me greater affection in the spiritual life, and it shall praise thee,yca, my eternal life shall be employed in thy praise: and let thy judg
il5 ments help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep ; seek thy servant; amidst all these declarations of my piety, I humbly acknowledge my errors, and the imperfections which attend my best services: my plea is, for I do not forget thy commandments, that is, I love thy law, and long to serve thee better. When we can make this appeal to God, it will be a token for good j and we may comfortably /tope that he will recover us.
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The great use we are to make of this psalm, is, to have our veneration and love for the law of God increased, as that which will afford us the noblest delight and the best instruction; and considering what a small part of the scriptures David had, in comparison of what we are favoured with, and how much more excellent that part is which he had not, we shaH be inexcusable if we are strangers to the word of God, and do not make it our study and delight. The servant who knoweth his lord's will, and doeth it not, shall be beaten -with many stripes.
A Song of degrees.
Tliix and the fourteeen following psalms are called Songs of Degrre*.It is not material to know what this means, tince the learned are not agreed, nor can the Jewish writers give us any light in the matter: whether they were to be sung on the stairs of the temple, Jfeh. ix. 4. as is generally supposed, or only with a loud voice. They are all short, but the hundred and thirty second, which might be used as a token of gratitude to David and his memory, who had made such preparations for building the temple. This hundred and twentieth psalm was written by David in the wilderness of Paran, and when sojourning among or near the Arabians.
1 TN my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me.
2 JL Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, [and] from a 0 deceitful tongne. What shall be given iimo thee? or what
shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue? what treasure dost 4 thou hope to heap up by it? Sharp arrqprs of the mighty, the
freadful punishment of almighty God, with coals of junipeT, a 6 wood that burns fiercely, and keefisfire a long rime. Wo is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, [that] I dwell in the tents of Redar i that I am forced ta continue a long time among this inhospitable and barbarous /teo/ile; or it nay refer to leicked men in Israel,
6 who are as bad as any that dwelt in ifiie country. My soul hath
7 long dwelt with him that hatctli peace. I [am for] peace : but when I speak, they [are] for war ; u'hen I make firojiosals of peace, ы take any fiainn to bring them to a better lénifier, they are far carrying on the war wil/i so much the more eagerness.
FROM hence we are taught, that a peaceable, quiet situation, among good neighbours, is a great mercy. It is dreadful to be obliged to sojourn among those who fear not God, nor love truth ; but who tell lies, devise mischief, and sow discord by slandering and evil speaking; who love litigation and contention, and are all for war. If we have not the vexation and perplexity of such neighbours, we should bless God for it. If we have, let us consider it as an affliction ; patiently bear it, and endeavour, by being peaceable ourselves, by rendering good for evil, and abounding in friendly offices, to disarm their rage, and promote their moderation. Let we not be overcome of evil, but overcome eviliuith good. It is no uncommon thing for men to complain of a bad neighb jurhood, when they are themselves the worst neighbours in it.
A Song of degrees.
Composed by David during tome great affliction, firobably Absalom's rébellion, ai, he refers to mount Zion, which was not in the hands of the Israelites, ner the seat of the ark, '¡U a little before that event.
1 T WILL lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence JL cometli my help; though lam driven from my fialacc, and thy tabernacle, yet 1 lift u/i mine eyes toward mount Zion and Mo
2 riah, inhere God dwells. My help [cometh] from the Lord, which made heaven and earth, and has all things at his command.
3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thce
4 will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep; the protector of Israel and all good men -will not
5 neglect thte a moment, much less entirely abandon thee. The Lor u tis] thy keeper: the Lord [is] thy shade upon thy right hand
6 to refresh and protect thee. The sun shall not smite thee by day itrith his excessive heat, nor the moon by night, though thou should*
£ est be farced to lodge in the open air. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul, that is, thy KJirr
and not suffer thee to fall into the hands of Ahithophel and Absalom, 8 who would take it away. The Lord shall preserve thee in thy going out and thy coming in, from this lime forth, and even for evermore, even to the end of thy day*,
FR O M this psalm we may learn, thankfully to acknowledge, and cheerfully depend upon divine guardianship. This has been universally called the traveller's psalm; and it is indeed an excellent cofnpanion upon our journies. Let us adore the goodness of God that he will be the guardian of his people, and the keeper of Israel ; and when we are leaving our habitations and going abroad, we should take encouragement from hence to trust in God to take care of us and them. In dependence upon this encouragement, let us cheerfully prosecute the proper business of life; and not be slavishly afraid of enemies and danger by day or by night. God's eye is every where ; we and our friends may sleep, but God never slumbers nor sleeps. Let this then engage us to be cheerful; he has hitherto preserved and kept us, and we may comfortably conclude that, He will preserve us saje to his heavenly kingdom.
A Song of degrees of David.
1 "T WAS was glad when they said unto me, at the approach of JL the sabbath, or solemn feasts, Let us go into the house of the
2 Lord. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together, not seat
4 tered and divided ;* Whither the tribes go up, the tribes ef the
Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to worship before the ark, in
which the table of testimony was kept, and by which God testified
his dwelling in Israel, and his relation to them; thither they repair
for the administration of justice, as well as to give thanks unto the
5 name of the Lord. For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David; the courts of judicature are there, where David and his sons administer justice.^ Whenever yen
6 come up there, Pray for the peace and happiness of Jerusalem:
7 they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, [and] prosperity within thy palaces; may plenty of all good things 8 be found within thee. For my brethren and companions* sakes,
• Divid hid filler! the valley between the upper and lower city with buildings* so that the city was now regular.
t We are tol.l, ? Sam. viii. 18. that David made hi": sons chief rul»n. The trtnpte might be nnde the place of judgment, to le.vl the people to thankfulness that Cod h»d given thtm a prince, bv whom wl by his familv justice Was distributed j and to engage those yourg pihv
ccs to do it with diligence and iuup '-y
9 I will now say, Peace [be] within thee. Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good; not only pray for it, tut do what 1 can to promote it.
WE are taught from this psalm to love God's house, and seek its prosperity. No particular place is now the center of worship and unity, as Jerusalem then was, but wherever christians meet, there is a church, a house of God, a holy place. Let us quicken and stir up one another to go there, for we all need to be quickened. Let us earnestly embrace the call, love the habitation of God's home, esteem a day in hit courts better than a thousand other days ; pray fur its peace and prosperity; that God would be the guardian of our churches; and continue their liberty and tranquillity. This should be done from a principle of love to Cod, a concern for the edification and happiness of our brethren; and a regard to all the pleasure which results from social devotion. Let a spirit of piety and religious fellowship animate us to offer up our prayers and perform every good deed for the house of God; for in the peace thereof we shall have peace; and God is not unrighteous to forget our -works of faith and labour* of love, or blot out our good deeds for the house of our God.
A Song of degrees.
If this psalm was composed by David, it was probably one of the first that he penned. Israel was then under great oppression by the Philistines; there was no spear nor sword among them ; and .they were obliged to go down to the forges offhe Philistines to sharpen thei>- instruments of husbandry : at those times they would banter the Israelites for their dependence upon a God, who, they thought, could not save them. David might go on these occasions, and this psalm be some of the first breathings of his pious and generous soul, on seeing his country thus oppressed.
1 T TNTO thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in
2 \^) the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants [look] unto the hand of their masters, [and] as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress, either for help and defence against those who wrong them, or to receive the signals rf their will; or rather, as expressing their resolution to submit to their correction ; so our eyes [\jait] upon the Loud our God, until that he have mercy
3 upon us, and remove the affliction. Have mercy upon us, O Lord, we earnestly entreat thee, have mercy upon us: for we.
are exceedingly filled with cbntempt, and are hardly able to be%n 4 up under it, as in 2 Kings xviii. 23, 24. Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that are at ease, [and] with the contempt of the proud, To/jo are in peace and prosperity, and enjoy not only the good of their own land, but of ours also.
WE should be led by reading this psalm to adore the divine goodness, that our enemies are not oppressing us, lording it over us, insulting us with cutting reproaches and cruel mockir.gs. Yet many who are serious and good, will meet with the scorn and contempt of the wicked and the freethinkers of the age. Let them vhen in such a case, keep their eyes fixed upon God; and derirs support and encouragement from lus mercy and that assurance of his favour, which he has given to all who hold fast their integrity.
A Song of degrees of David.
Comhosed perhaps on occasion of the victory David gained over the Pliilimines in the beginning of his reign, see 2 Sam. v. >9. It is probable that they were overcome by thunder, or some other remark* able interposition of Providence.
1 T F [it had not been] the Lord who was on our side, now may
2 X Israel say; If [it had not been] the Lord who was on our
3 side, when men rose up againt Us: Then they had swallowed us up quick, that is, alive, when their wrath was kindled against
4 us: Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone
5 over our soul: Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.
6 Blessx;d [be] the Lord, who hath not given us [as] a prey to
7 their teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of H the fowlers : the snare is broken, and we are escaped. Our
help [is] in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth j in whose power and goodness, illustrated by this deliverance, we, wittfor ever trust.
WE are taught from this psalm, that national deliverances demand our fervent gratitude. Many circumstances have occurred in this nation, especially that we commemorate on the fifth of November, and some which have happened yithin our own memory, when our danger has been extreme, and God's interposition remarkable, that may properly be celebrated in the language of this psalm. These considerations should keep us from unreason