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He continueth to pray that he may be delivered from his ene. mies, the world, the flesh, and the devil, from whose temptations he fleeth, by repentance and faith, to the Almighty, to hide and protect him. He requesteth to be fully instructed in the will of him, whom, as his Lord and his God, he hath determined to serve and obey. But conscious of his own inability to do the will of Jehovah, even when known, he entreateth the good Spirit of God to lead him out of the mazes of error, and the pollutions of vice, into the pleasant land* of truth and holiness.
11. Quicken me, O Lord, for thy name's sake: for thy righteousness sake bring my soul out of trouble. 12. And of thy mercy cut off minc enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul : for I am thy servant.
The verbs in these last verses, as Dr. Hammond hath noted, should be rendered in the future; Thou shalt quicken, &c. and then the Psalm will end, as usual, with an act of faith and assurance, that all those mercies, which have been asked, shall be obtained ; that God, for the sake of his name, and his righteousness, of his glory, and his faithfulness in the performance of his promises, will not fail to be favourable and gracious to his servants, quickening them, even when dead in trespasses and sins, and bringing them, by degrees, out of all their troubles; going forth with them to the battle against their spiritual enemies, and eną. bling them to vanquish the authors of their affliction and misery, to mortify the flesh, and to overcome the world; that so they may triumph with their Redeemer, in the day when he shall likewise quicken their mortal bodies, and put all enemies under their feet. XXX DAY. MORNING PRAYER. PSALM CXLIV.
ARGUMEN T. It appears from verse 2. and verse 10. of this Psalm, that it was
composed after David's accession to the throne. And it is evident, from verse 5, &c. that he had more enemies still to conquer, such as the Philistines, &c. He therefore, 1, 2. blesseth Jehovah, and, 3, 4. expresseth bis astonishment at the divine goodness shown to such a creature as man. 5-8. He beseecheth God to perfect his work, and subdue the remaining adversaries by the might of his power. 9, 10. He breaks forth again into a strain of thanksgiving, and, 11-15. again returns to his pray
* Mr. Merrick mentions the similar phrases of medrov canteras, and 28. Jet
annards among the Greeks. Or TV'd pay may signify “the land that is plain and direct, even and straight, where he might pursue his in: tended course of piety and goodness, without fear of meeting with obstructions in the way, or danger of wandering out of it.
ers for the complete redemption, and the prosperity of Israel. If we substitute in our minds Messiah for David the church for Israel, and spiritual for temporal blessings, the Psalm will present itself to us, as a noble evangelical hymn.
1. Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.
What David here acknowledgeth, with regard to his victories, and that skill or might by which they were obtained, should be likewise acknowledged by all earthly kings and generals, in the day of battle and conquest. For success in our spiritual warfare, we depend on the grace of God, which alone can give us wisdom and strength to have victory, and to triumph against sin, the world, and the devil. Even the captain of our salvation fought and overcame hy a power that was divine. Jehovah taught his hands to war, and his fingers to fight, and blessed on that account, be the name of Jehovah, in the church, for evermore.
2. My goodness, Heb. my mercy,* and my fortress : my high tower, and my deliverer ; my shield, and he in whom I trust ; and who subdueth my people under me.
The goodness or mercy of God inclineth us, in time of trouble, to fly to bim as to a fortress, or tower, in which we find refuge; and when we have thus put ourselves under his patronage, he becometh our deliverer from present danger; our shield, or protector, against any that may asterwards arise; the object of our unlimited trust and confidence; and, at last, the subduer of all opposition under us.
3. Lord, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that thou makest account of him? 4. Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.
After a thanksgiving for the works wbich Jehovab bad wrought, followeth a reflection on the creature man, for whom they were wrought. Such a reflection, introduced in the same manner, and almost in the same words, we meet with in Psalm vii. 4. which passage, being cited by the Apostle, Heb. ii. 6. and applied to Christ, affords an argument, as Dr. Hammond hath justly obserFed, for a like application of the verses now before us, in their more eminent, prophetic, mystical sense. For, certainly, if David, upon the remembrance of what God bad done for him, could break forth into this reflection, much more may we do so, for whom the Redeemer hath been manifested in the form of a servant, and in
* That is, “ who are merciful to me," the abstract being put for the con crete, as in Psalm xii. 1. Prov. x. 29. Ezek. xliv. 6. Hos. viü 9. Dr. Da. rell thinks we should read 'non “my refuge," as in other parallel places.
that form hath humbled himself to the death of the cross, to gain us the victory over principalities and powers, to put all things under our feet, and to make us partakers of his everlasting kingdom. Lord, what indeed, is man, TX or what is the son of such a miserable creature, WINX p that thou shouldst take this knowledge, and this account of him! Man, who is now become like vanity, or instability itself; whose days are fleeting and transient as a shadow, which glides over the earth, vanishes, and is seen no more! Such was human nature; but the Son of God hath taken it upon himself, rendered it immortal, and exalted it to heaven; whither all will follow him hereafter, who follow bim now in the paths of righteousness and holiness.
5. Bow thy heavens, O Lord, and come down : touch the mountains and they shall smoke. 6. Cast forth lightning, and scatter them, shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them. 7. Send thine hand from above ; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children ; 8. Whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
David, having celebrated his victories over some of his enemies, and extolled the mercy and goodness of God, to whom he ascribed the achievement of them, now proceedeth to request a farther manifestation of the omnipotent arm in his favour, against other hostile forces, which still threatened his country, upon his accession to the throne; such as the Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, &c. See 2 Sam. v. and viii. These are called metaphorically great waters, threatening to overwhelm and destroy every thing; and, in plainer terms, strange children, or aliens from the covenant of Jehovah, and the commonwealth of Israel ; children who speak lies, and work wickedness; or, as Dr. Hammond interpreteth the 8th verse, whose mouth speaketh, or maketh profession of vanity, aw that is, idolatry; and their right hand, that on which they depend for support, the object of their confidence, is a right hand of falsehood, you and one that will fail all who rely upon it for help. Jehovalı, the God of Israel, is therefore entreated once more to appear in the cause of his Avointed; to go forth, as of old, to the battle against the enemies of his people, with all the tokens of displeasure and vengeance, dismaying and putting to flight these armies of aliens. In like manner, the church, or mystical body of Christ, is instant in prayer for the final completion of her hope. She wisheth for the glorious day, when her God and Saviour shall bow the heavens, and come down to judgment, causing the mountains to smoke, and fame, and dissolve, and now down before him; when his lightniogs, those arrows of his indignation, and ministers of his vengeance, shall scatter the host of darkness, and destroy the antichristian powers; when we shall be delivered from every enemy, and from all that hate us, and David our King.
9. I will sing a new song unto thee, O God; upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises anto thee. 10. It is he that giveth salvation unto kings : who delivereth David his serwant from the hurtful sword.
In the mean time, as the Israelitish church praised Jehovah for the mercies already vouchsafed to the son of Jesse, so do we daily magnify, with voices and instruments of music, that salvation which God hath effected for us, by the deliverance of his Son, our Lord, from death and the grave.
11. Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood: 12. That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth ; that our daughters may be as corner-stones, polished after the similitude of a palace. 13. That our garners may be full
, affording all manner of store, that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets ; or, fields: 14. That our oreu may be strong to labour ; that there be no breaking in, nor going out ; that there be no complaining in our streets.
Prayer is again made for a continuance of God's favour, and a complete victory over every enemy; the bappy consequences of which, in the establishment of Israel, and the prosperity of Je. rusalem, are particularly described. Victory is productive of peace, and peace is the mother of all earthly blessings to communities, and the families that compose them; whose happiness consisteth in a numerous and hopeful progeny of sons and daughters: the former healthy and well nurtured, growing up, like young plants in a kindly soil, until they attain to their full strength and stature; the latter, fair and virtuous, like so many tall, well proportioned, highly polished, and richly ornamented columns, gracing the house to which they belong. When to these we have added plenty of corn, and all other provisions, in the granaries and storehouses ; flocks and herds, ever thriving and increasing; freedom from hostile invasions, and domestic complaints, so that there be no breaking in, nor going out, no irruption of aliens into the commonwealth, nor emigration of inhabitants to foreign countries, by captivity, or otherwise: we shall find ourselves possessed of most of the ingredients, which enter into the composition of temporal felicity. Such felicity God promised to his people Israel, and bestowed on them, while they kept his statutes, and observed his laws. And therefore there is no reason for supposing, as the Fathers, with many others, have done, that
these wishes for sons, daughters, corn, sheep, oxen, &c. are ut. tered by the strange children, the aliens and idolaters mentioned in the 11th verse. The good things of this world may fall to the lot of the righteous, who are distinguished from the wicked by the use which they make of them, when given; and by their meek resignation of them, when taken away. Whatever be the will of God concerning our having or wanting these outward comforts, we know that we have, as the faithful servants of God in every age had before us, greater and more precious promises, a better and an enduring substance, pleasures that fade not, and riches that iy not away, reserved for us in a heavenly country, and a city which hath foundations.
15. Happy is that people that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people whose God is the Lord.
The Psalmist concludes with pronouncing the happiness of the Israelites, when in the state of prosperity above described, and their far greater happiness in having Jehovah for their God, who, by settling them in peaceful possession of the land of Canaan, and the Jerusalem below, gave them a pledge and foretaste of that love, which stood engaged by covenant to bring them and us to his everlasting rest, in the Jerusalem above.
A R G U M E N T.
chequered scenes of danger and deliverance, distress and