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4G4 . PSALM CXXXI.
in strict justice and set our sins in order before us, the best of us would be inevitably undone. We should acknowledge his justice, and our own guilt; and consider the mercy of God as an encouragement to fear him. Let us not trifle with him, and continue in sin, presuming upon his mercy ; but Jearn to reverence his authority, and labour to please him. Thus let us fear the Lord and las goodness, for viith him there is filenteous redemption. We should earnestly seek, and humbly wait for the displays of his favour. His goodness will not be delayed beyond the most reasonable time, though we may think it long. The light of the morning is pleasant after a dark night; so will be his favour and mercy, after we have patiently waited for it in the way of our duty. Let us then hofie in his word, for he га a fqitltful God, kecfiing covenant and mercy.
A Song of degrees of David.
This psalm was composed by David when he was charged ivitA ambiandas/iiring -views, and of seeking Satíí's Ufe.
1 T ORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty : nei1 4 ther do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too
high for me; I neither seek great things for myself, nor arraign thee and judge thy firovidence concerning thy dispensations to me.
2 Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul [is] even as a weaned child; I have imitated the humble, tractable temfier of the infant state; a vteaned child hankers a little after the breast, but soon rtconcile» itself to another way of living, and forgets the former; thus am I entirely resigned to thy guidance, and trust thy care and goodnes».
3 Let Israel hope in the Lo,rd from henceforth and for ever; let every Israelite that can say this of himself, disclaiming all currfidence before God, and resigning hitnself entirely to his dti/josc/, te encouraged to ho/iefor a good issue.
LE T us learn to cultivate that humble, contented temper, vrhich. is so beautifully described in this psalm; and to this end'gusrd «gainst an undue opinion of our own worth and abilities; not seeking great things for ourselves, and aspiring after state and grandeur; by which we see so many ruining themselves, and injuring others. Neither should we pry too curiously into the mysteries of religion, or talk dogmatically about them. Let the humility of our hearts appear in a mild, placid, condescending countenance; endeavouring to become as little children, and behaving with a becoming indifference to the world, with all simplicity, moderation, ajid contentment.
It is worth our while to take the greatest pains to gain ther.e dispositions. Let us then seek them of God, and learn them of Christ, •who was meek and lowly in heart, and we shall find real to our souls.
A Song of degrees.
t*kis fisalm mas composed at the dedication of the temple by Solomon, nvhen the ark was brought to its place, see 2 Chron. vi, 41. Part of Solomon's prayer used at that time is the same as some verses of this psalm.
1 T ORD, remember David, [and] all his afflictions; what the
I ■» workings of Ms heart were during his afflictions and persecutions, viz. that if ever he came to the crown he would build a
2 house for the Lord: How he sware unto the Lord, [and] vow* S ed unto the mighty [God] of Jacob; Surely I will not come
4 into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to mine eyes, [or] slumber to mine eyelids, (proverbial expressions for pursuing a scheme with all ones might,)
5 Until I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty [God] of Jacob, that is, a temple for his ark and worship.
6 Lo, we heard of it at Ephrata: we found it in the fields of the wood ; we have heard that the ark was once at Shiloh, in the land of Epliraim, and afterward at Kirjathjearim, a city in a wood: it was there till David brought it to a more worthy place. Jtnd now
f it is fixed, We will go into hi9 tabernacles: we will worship at
8 his footstool. Arise, O Lord, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength; take up thy more settled abode in this magnifi
9 cent temple. Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness, as well as outward ornaments; and let thy saints shout for joy, on account of thy ordinances, and all the blessings both civil and
10 sacred which they enjoy. For thy servant David's sake, and, the solemn covenant made with him, remember me his son, and turn
11 not away the face of thine anointed. The Lord hatb sworn [in] truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy
12 body will I set upon thy throne. If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their chil
13 dren also shall sit upon thy throne for evermore. For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired [it] for his habitation; and
14 graciously declares, This [is] my rest for ever: here will I dwell ; for I have desired it; / will not remove from it to any
15 other place. I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread; here is abundance of temporal and spir
16 itual blessings for all true worshippers. I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy; / will furnish them with suitable gifts and grace*f and make their
17 ministrations successful. There will I make the hom of Davuf to bud; / ivili advance and confirm hit flower: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed, that is, a successor, even until the time ef
18 the Messiah, and his kingdom shall be prosperous. His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon himself shall bit crown flourish.
1. T E T us be encouraged from hence to emulate the piety *f JL* David, displayed in his love and zeal for the house of the Lord. How anxious was this good man, that the ark, the emblem of God's presence, should have an honourable abode! and how uneasy till he had found out a place where the pious Israelites might assemble! A concern this, which neither all his cares, nor all his afflictions could exclude from his mind. Such a disposition it is our duty to cultivate, as it is so reasonable in itself, and so pleasing to God. If this was the temper of our fathers, (as of many of them h remarkably was,) we may plead it %yith God in prayer, as Solomon did, in our own behalf, if we are careful to tread in their steps. And let us learn from David, when we are resolved upon any good deed for the house of God, to fix a time, and set about it immedk ately; lest by deferring it we should neglect and forget it.
H. Let us earnestly pray that such blessings may attend the christian church, as were asked for and promised to the Jewish: that God would protect and prosper it; that all his ministers may be righteous, and their labours be effectual to promote the salvation of men ; that God would bless the provisions of his house, and make his ordinances useful; that cheerfulness and joy may fill every heart; and that Christ who has the kingdom of David, may have a more prosperous reign, and more extensive triumphs. We have great encouragement to offer up these prayers, since they accord with God's promises ; and the accomplishment of them will be for his. glory.
A Song of degrees of David.
ttis fisabn vox comflced on occasion of the union of the houses <£• Israel and Judali under David's government.
1 T3 EHOLD, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren
2 JD to dwell together in unity! [It is] like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, [even] Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts, or hood, of his garments, and diffused a grateful odour to all about him; so amiable
3 tmd delightßd is our present union. As thé dew of Негтогц [and as the dew] that descended upon the mountains of Zion; at grateful and desirable as the dew whose nature is refreshing^ the quantity abundant, and which extends Jar and wide, falling at the same time on Herman and Zion: for there the Lorb commanded the blessing, [even] life for evermore; eternal lift, at well a» prêtent prosperity, shall be the blessed effect of this union*
SINCE it is so good and pleasant for brethren to dwell thus in unity, let it be our care to cultivate a benevolent disposition in ourselves, and labour to promote it in all about us. Let us remember that we are all brethren; that it is peculiarly necessary for those of the same stock and family to live in love; and for the members of the same church to be peaceful and friendly. Let us guard against bigotry and a narrow spirit; against every thing which looks like scorn and contempt of our brethren, though their sentitnents and forms of worship may differ from ours. We should also guard against the first rising of resentment and ill wHl, and a disposition to take offence; and endeavour to promote a spirit of love among others ; striving to repair breaches; frowning upon those of a backbiting tongue; and be glad to restore and maintain peace. Let us delight in one another, and by love serve one another, since this is the way to obtain a blessing from Cod. He is love, and he ihct ¿welleth in love dvielleth in God, and God in him.
A Song of degrees.
This psalm is an exhortation to the Levitts, to take tare that while
they tvatched all night they employed themselves in devotion, and
not in any thing beneath the dignity of their character. The tttio
first verses might be sung by the people, and the last be the Lévites'
1 T) EHOLD, bless ye tlie Lord', all [ye] servants of the Lord,
2 JL) which by night stand in the house of the Lord. Lift up
3 your hands [in] the sanctuary, and bless the Lord. The Lorv that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion.
LET us learn from hence to maintain a devotional temper at all timos, especially in the night season, when obliged to watch, or our eyes are kept waking; let us then employ our thoughts in meditation upon God and his word; in prayer and fo praise. This will make wearisome nights comfortable and edify~ ing, and add refreshment to our bed. Thus may we hope for the blessing of God; who, as he made heaven and earth, can never be at a loss to furnish his people with suitable supports and consolations. Thus saith David, My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness ; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lifts.
1 IJRATSE ye the Lord. Praise ye the name of the Lord;
2 Jl praise [him,] O ye servants of the Loss. Ye Levitts, that stand in the house of the Lord, ye people, that stand in the courts of
3 the house of our God, Praise the Lord; forth* Lord [is] good:
4 sing praises unto his name; for [it is] pleasant. For the Lord hath chosen Jacob unto himself, [and] Israel for his peculiar treasure; he delights in them, and takes them under fas special
5 care and protection. Fori know that the Lord [is] great, and
6 [that] our Lord [is] above &\V gods. Whatsoever the Lord pleased, [that] did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and in
7 all deep places. He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain, or, with the rain sending out lightning, which is often attended with violent showers of rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries.
8 Who smote the first born of Egypt, both of man and beast.
9 [Who] sent tokens and wonders into the midst of thee, O Egypt,
10 upon Pharaoh, and upon all his servants. Who smote great na
11 tions, and slew mighty kings; Sihon king of the Amorites, and
12 Og king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan: And gave their land [for] an heritage, an heritage unto Israel his people.
13 Thy name, O Lorb, [endureth] for ever; [and] thy memorial, O Lord, as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, (Exodus Hi.
14 15.) throughout all generations. For the Lobd will judge his people, and he will repent himself concerning his servants ; he will be reconciled to them after he has treated them with seeming
15 severity. The idols of the heathen [are] silver and gold, the
16 work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they speak not; IT eyes have they, but they see not; They have ears, but they )8 hear not; neither is there [any] breath in their mouths. They
that make them are like unto them: [so is] every one that
trusteth in them. The nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty first
verses were probably sung alternately, and the last clause was the
\9 chorus. Bless the Lord, O hcuse of Israel: bless the Lord,
20 O house of Aaron: Bless the Lord, O house of Levi: ye that
21 fear the Lord, bless the Lord. Blessed be the Lord out of Zion, which dwelleth at Jerusalem. Praise ye the Lord,