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excited by a storm, render it, in that state, the most tremendous object in nature; nor doth anything which man beholds, give him so just an idea of human impotence, and of that divine power, which can excite and calm so boisterous an element at pleasure. God himself therefore frequently appeals to this instance of his omnipotence; see Job xxxviii. 11. Jer. v. 22; an attribute, of which our Lord showed himself to have been possessed, when, being with his disciples in the ship, he arose and rebuked tempestuous wind and a raging sea, and there was instantly a calm. In all our troubles and temptations, be thou, blessed Jesus, with us, and then they shall never finally overwhelm us.
“ 10. Thou hast broken Rahab, i. e. Egypt, in pieces, as one that is slain; thou hast scattered thine enemies with thy strong arm.”
The destruction of Pharaoh and the Egyptians is here mentioned, as another instance of God's mighty power. And it is probable, that the foregoing verse was intended to allude more particularly to that miraculous exertion of God's sovereignty over the waters, the devision of the Red Sea, which happened at the same time; as these two events are generally spoken of together. Thus Isaiah; “ Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab," i. e. Egypt, “and wounded the dragon," i. e. Pharaoh ? “ Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep, that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over?" li. 9. The same power which effected all this, hath since, in Christ Jesus, overcome the world, destroyed the works of the devil, and ransomed mankind from the depths of the grave.
* 11. The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: as for the world, and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them. 12. The north and the south, thou hast created them : Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy
The “heavens," and all the glorious bodies there ranged in beautiful order: the " earth.” with its rich furniture, and the unnumbered tribes of its inhabitants, through its whole extent, from north to south," and from east to west; all these are so many evidences of that wisdom and power, which at the beginning contrived and formed them : all, in their respective ways, declare the glory, and speak the praises of their great Creator ; but chiefly the holy land, and the fruitful hills which adorned it. "Tabor” in one part, and “Hermon” in another, formerly seemed, as it were, to “ rejoice" and sing, for the abundant favours showered down upon them by the God of Israel, who hath since caused all nations no less to exalt and triumph in his saving NAME.
“ 13. Thou hast a mighty arm : strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand."
The Psalmist, having produced and meditated on some eminent instances of divine power, draws this general conclusion from the premises. Towards the Christian church “ the arm of Jehovah” hath been revealed in a still more extraordinary manner. She reflecteth on the wonders wrought by Jesus : a conquest over more formidable enemies than Pharaoh and his Egyptians; a redemption from more cruel bondage ; salvation from sin and death: a new creation, new heavens, and new earth, a new Jerusalem, and a spiritual Sion. With additional conviction may she therefore exclaim, “ Thou hast a mighty arm; strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand."
“ 14. Justice and judgment are the habitation, Heb. the establishment, of thy throne : mercy and truth shall go before thy face.”
Although the power of God be infinite, yet it is never exerted but under the direction of other attributes. When he goeth, as a judge, to his tribunal,“ mercy and truth go before his face;" they are represented as preceding him, to give notice of his advent, and to prepare his way. “All the ways," or dispensations “of the Lord," as it is elsewhere observed, “ are mercy and truth,” Psalm xxv. 10.; they are the substance of all his revelations, which either promise salvation, or relate the performance of such
promises. By these is man warned and prepared for “ judgment,” which is to be the last and finishing scene. And when the great Judge of all the earth shall from his throne pronounce the irreversible sentence, not a creature then present shall be able to accuse that sentence of injustice. After this model should the thrones of princes, and the tribunals of earthly magistrates, be constituted in “justice and judgment,” adorned with “mercy and truth."
“ 15. Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance."
Next to the praises of Jehovah, is declared the happiness of those who have him for their God; who “know the joyful sound, or sound of the trumpet,” by which the festivals of the Jewish church were proclaimed, and the people were called together to the offices of devotion; who enjoy the “light” of truth, and through grace are enabled to “ walk” therein. These blessings are now become our own; the evangelical trumpet hath sounded through the once heathen world; the Sun of righteousness hath risen upon all nations. Let us attend to the “joyful sound;" let us - walk” in the glorious “ light.”
“ 16. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day; and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted. 17. For thou art the glory of their strength; and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted. 18. For the Lord is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our King."
It is the duty of Christians, as it was that of Israelites, to ascribe all their strength, their success, and their glory, whether in matters temporal or spiritual, to Jehovah alone. Having heard the sound, and experienced the illuminating and reviving influences of the Gospel, in the name and in the salvation of God we rejoice all the day, and in his righteousness only we trust to be exalted to heaven: to him we attribute the glory of that strength, with which, in time of temptation, we may find ourselves happily endued; and in his favour, or grace, our horn, or the efforts of our power, shall be exalted, and crowned victory; our defence in all dangers is from Jehovah, who was ever the shield of his ancient people; and the Holy One of Israel is our Redeemer, and our King.
“ 19. Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid, or, placed, help upon, or, in, one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people.'
The covenant made with David was mentioned in general terms above, at verses 4, 5. But a more particular account is now given of God's dispensations, relative to the son of Jesse, and his posterity. We are presented with the substance of the revelation made upon this subject, " in vision," to one of the prophets, perhaps Samuel, or Nathan, here styled a "
"holy one,” or religious person, one favoured and accepted by God, who is introduced as manifesting to this his prophet the Divine counsels concerning David. “I have placed help upon, or in one, who shall become an emi. nent and mighty Saviour of Israel; from among all the people I have chosen, and determined to exalt him, for that purpose, to the throne.” Thus was Messiah foretold, in prophetical visions and revelations, as the person designed to be the mighty Redeemer of his church; thus, in the fulness of time, was he chosen from among all the children of men, and exalted, through sufferings, to an eternal throne.
6 20. I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him: 21. With whom my hand shall be established; mine arm shall also strengthen him.”
David was the servant of God; he was by the prophet Samuel anointed with oil; he was strengthened and established in his kingdom, by the hand and arm of Jehovah. But never let Christians fail, in this eminently figurative character, to contemplate that true David (for so he is called, Ezek. xxxiv. 23. xxxvii. 25.) the beloved Son of God: “ the servant and elect of Jehovah, in whom his soul delighted, and on whom he put his Spirit,” Isa. xlii. 1; whom he “anointed with his holy oil, with the oil of gladness, with the Holy Ghost and with power," Psalm xlv. 7. Acts x. 38. whom he strengthened and established in his spiritual kingdom, with his hand and arm, and the might of his omnipotence.
“ 22. The enemy shall not exact upon, or, deceive him; nor the son of wickedness afflict, or, subdue, him. 23. And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him. 24. But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him; and in my name shall his horn be exalted.”
These promises were fulfilled to David, when God delivered him out of the hand of Saul, and of all his other adversaries. See 2 Sam. xxii. 1. And in what a full, perfect, and divine sense were they verified in Christ! That subtle enemy, “ which deceiveth the whole world,” was not able to deceive him; neither the sons nor the father of wickedness could overthrow and subdue him; all opposition fell before him, and they who hated him suffered unparalleled desolation: the promised faithfulness and mercy of Jehovah were ever with him, and his kingdom was exalted with glory and honour.
“25. I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers."
The dominions of David and his son Solomon extended from the Mediterranean “sea" to the rivers" Euphrates, &c.; the empire of Christ is universal, over Jews and Gentiles, throughout all the earth. See Psalm Ixxii. 8, &c.
“ 26. He shall cry unto me, Thou art my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation. 27. Also I will make him my first-born, higher than the kings of the earth.”
All this, if in some respects true of David, is much more emphatically 80 of our Lord Jesus Christ. “Son of God” is one of his distinguished titles; of “the Father” he continually spoke, and to the Father he addressed his prayers and cries in the days of his flesh; as man, he was raised and exalted by the power and glory of the Divinity; he was the first-born of every creature, the first begotten from the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.” Col. i. 15. Rev. i. 1. Make us, blessed Lord, the sons of God, and teach us to cry, Abba, Father; give us victory and dominion over sin and death, that we may live and reign with thee for ever.
“ 28. My mercy will I keep for, or, to, him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. 29. His seed also will I make to endure
and his throne as the days of heaven.” God kept his mercy and covenant with David, by preserving the line of his posterity, until his great antitype, Messiah, the subject of all the promises, came, by whom the kingdom was established for ever, being changed into a spiritual one, which is to be transferred from earth to heaven, and rendered coeval with those eternal mansions of the blessed.
“30. If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; 31. If they break, or, profane, my statutes, and keep not my commandments; 32. Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their ini. quity with stripes. 33. Nevertheless, my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. 34. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips."
The posterity of David were to enjoy God's favour, or be deprived of it, as they proved obedient or disobedient to his “ law;" as they executed or perverted its civil “judgments :” as they observed or neglected its ceremonial “ statutes,” or religious institutions; as they kept or broke its “commandments” or moral precepts. When they became rebellious, idolatrous, and profligate, the rod was lifted up, and due chastisement inflicted, sometimes by the immediate hand of Heaven, sometimes by the instrumentality of their heathen adversaries; famine and pestilence, war and captivity, were at different times employed to reclaim backsliding Israel. But still, the " covenant" of God in Christ stood sure; the Jewish nation was pre
served through all changes and revolutions, “ until the Seed came to whom the promise was made;" nor was Jerusalem destroyed before the new and spiritual kingdom of Messiah was set up in the earth. Christian communities, and the individuals that compose them, are in like manner corrected and punished for their offences. “Nevertheless, God's loving-kindness will he not utterly take from us, nor suffer his faithfulness to fail. His covenant will he not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of his lips." So-"I am with you always," says the Redeemer, “ even to the end of the world; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against my church,” Matt. xxviii. 20. xvi. 18. Nor shall the world be destroyed until Christ come again, and his glorious kingdom be ready to appear.
“ 35. Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David. 36. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. 37. It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven."
The promise, covenant, and oath of God, which he declareth shall never fail, are here repeated. They relate to Christ, that “ Seed,” or “Son of David," who “endureth for ever:" His throne is resplendent as the “sun," and shall continue after that luminary is extinguished : his church is permanent as the "moon,” though like her, subject to vicissitudes, and liable for a time to be obscured by eclipses, during her present state upon earth. And while the rainbow shall be seen in the clouds, man has “a faithful witness in heaven” of the immutable truth of God's word, and the infallible accomplishment of what he promises. “Look upon the rainbow," saith the wise son of Sirach, “and praise him who made it: very beautiful it is in the brightness thereof: it compasseth the heaven about with a glorious circle, and the hands of the Most High have bended it," Eccles. xlviii. 11. But let us not forget likewise, when we look upon the rainbow, to praise him who made it to be a sign and sacred symbol of mercy: in which capacity we behold it, to our great and endless comfort, compassing the throne of Christ with a gracious, as well as glorious circle. " There was a RAINBOW round about the throne,” Rev. iv. 3. Ezek. i. 28.
“ 38. But thou hast cast off and abhorred, thou hast been wroth with thine anointed. 39. Thou hast made void the covenant of thy servant ; thou hast profaned his crown, by casting it to the ground.”.
In the former part of our psalm, we have seen what the Divine promises were, which had been made to the house of David. By the latter part, upon which we are entering, it appears that the Psalm was written at a time when the church of Israel was in such a manner oppressed and reduced by her enemies, that her members began almost to despair of those promises receiving their accomplishment. God seemed to have cast off” and “ abhorred” his “ annointed” and “servant,” that is, David, or rather the prince of his family, who was upon the throne, when this captivity and desolation happened ; the covenant" seemed to be overturned and “ made void," when the “ crown" of Israel was defiled in the dust.
“ 40. Thou hast broken down all his hedges; thou hast brought his strong-hoids to ruin. 41. All that pass by the way spoil him: he is a reproach to his neighbours. 42. Thou hast set up the right hand of his adversaries; thou hast made all his enemies to rejoice. 43. Thou hast also turned the edge of his sword, and hast not made him to stand in the battle. 44. Thou hast made his glory to cease, and cast his throne down to the ground. 45. The days of his youth hast thou shortened : thou hast covered him with shame."
The manifold calamities of Sion are in these verses enumerated; the demolition of fences and fortifications: the cruel ravages consequent thereupon; the shame of defeats; the reproaches and insults of victorious adversaries; the dishonours of violent and untimely death. In days like these here desscribed, when the church and the king are permitted to fall into the hands of those who hate them, and to drink thus deeply of the cup of affliction, dis
trust and despondency are apt to seize upon the minds of men. Nay, when the faithful few behold the true “Son of David," and “Annointed” of Jehovah, in the day of his sufferings; when they saw him, without help or defence, " spoiled and reproached by his neighbours ;" when they viewed " the right hand of his adversaries set up," and all his “enemies rejoicing” over him; his “ glory made to cease," and his crown profaned in the dust; the days of his youth shortened,” and himself delivered over to a “shameful" as well as painful death ; they then began to think “ the covenant made void," and the promises at an end. “We trusted," said they, “ that it had been he who should have redeemed Israel !” Luke xxiv. 21.° And although Christ be long since rised from the dead, and ascended into heaven, yet the prevalence of iniquity, and the oppressions of the church, have been, and in ihe last days will be such, as to put the faith and hope of his servants to a sore trial, while they wait for his second, as the ancient Jews did for his first advent.
* 46. How long, Lord, wilt thou hide thyself? for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire? 47. Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain ? Or, as Ainsworth translates the verse, Remember how transitory I am; unto what vanity thou hast created all the sons of Adam? 48. What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death ? shall he deliver his soul, or, animal frame, from the hand of the grave ? 49. LORD, where are thy former loving-kindnesses, which thou swarest unto David in thy truth ?”
This is the humble and dutiful expostulation of the church with God in all her distresses upon the earth. By asking, “ How long LORD, wilt thou be angry for ever?” She tacitly pleadeth his promise not to be so: she urgeth the shortness of man's life here below, the universality of the fatal sentence, the impossibility of avoiding death, and if nothing farther was to happen, the frustration of the Divine counsels concerning man. From thence she entreateth God to remember the “ loving-kindness” once promised by him with an oath to David, as related in the former part of the Psalm. These "loving-kindnesses” are called, in Isaiah lv. 3. “ the sure mercies of David ;" which “sure mercies of David” are affirmed by St. Paul, Acts xiii. 34. to have been then confirmed on Israel, when, in the person of Jesus, God raised our nature from the grave. To a resurrection, therefore, believers have ever aspired ; thither have they directed their wishes, and on that event have they fixed their hopes, as the end of temporal sorrows, and the beginning of eternal joys.
“50. Remember, LORD, the reproach of thy servants; how I do bear in my bosom the reproach of all the mighty people; 51. Wherewith thine enemies have reproached, O LORD; wherewith they have reproached the footsteps of thine anointed.”
The last argument urged by the church, in her expostulation with God for a speedy redemption, is the continual reproach to which she was subject, on account of the promise being delayed. The "mighty people" or heathen pations, who held her in captivity, and were witnesses of her wretched and forlorn estate, ridiculed her pretentions to perpetuity of empire in the house of David ; they blasphemed ihe God who was said to have made such promises; and “ reproached his footsteps," or mocked at the tardy advent of bis Messiah,* who was to establish in Israel his everlasting throne. All these cruel taunts and insults she was obliged to bear in her bosom, and there to suppress them in silence, having nothing to answer in the day of her calamity and seeming destitution. St. Peter gives us a like account of the state of the Christian church in the latter days; he exhorts us to be “mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandments of the Apostles of the Lord and Saviour, because there
* "Exprobraverunt vestigio Christi tui:" tarditatem vestigiorum Christi tui.- Chald. Irri. debant nos quod non adveniret expectatus ille Liberator, sive Cyrus, sive potius Christus de semine Davidis, regno ejus instaurando, et in æternum firmando.-Bossuel.