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"3. Consider and hear me, O LORD my God; lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death."

On the preceding consideration is founded a prayer to Jehovah, that he would no longer hide his face, but "consider," or, more literally, "have respect to, favourably behold" his servant; that he would "hear, attend to, be mindful of," his supplication in distress. The deliverance requested is expressed figuratively, "Lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death." In time of sickness and grief, the "eyes" are dull and heavy; and they grow more and more so as death approaches, which closes them in darkness. On the other hand, health and joy render the organs of vision bright and sparkling, seeming, as it were, to impart "light" to them from within. The words, therefore, may be fitly applied to a recovery of the body natural, and thence of the body politic, from their respective maladies. Nor do they less significantly describe the restoration of the soul to a state of spiritual health and holy joy, which will manifest themselves, in like manner, by "the eyes of the understanding being enlightened ;" and in this case, the soul is saved from the sleep of sin, as the body is, in the other, from the sleep of death.

"4. Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when 1 am moved."

This argument we often find urged in prayer to God that he would be pleased to work salvation for his people, lest his and their enemies should seem to triumph over him, as well as them; which would indeed have been the case, had Satan either seduced the true David to sin, or confined him in the grave. And certainly, it should be a powerful motive to restrain us from transgression, when we consider, that as the conversion of a sinner brings glory to God, and causes joy among the angels of heaven; so the fall of a believer disgraces the gospel of Jesus, opens the mouths of the adversaries, and would produce joy, if such a thing could be, in hell itself.

5. But I have trusted, or, I trust, in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice, or, rejoices, in thy salvation. 6. I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt, or, deals bountifully with me."

The heart, which "trusteth in God's mercy," shall alone" rejoice in his salvation," and celebrate by the tongue, in songs of praise, the loving-kindness of the Lord. It is observable, that this, and many other Psalms, with a mournful beginning, have a triumphant ending; to show us the prevailing power of devotion, and to convince us of the certain return of prayer, sooner or later, bringing with it the comforts of heaven, to revive and enrich our weary and barren spirits in the gloomy seasons of sorrow and temptation, like the dew descending by night upon the withered summit of an eastern




This Psalm is in a manner the same with the LIIId. It sets forth, 1-3. the corruption of the world; 4-6. its enmity against the people of God; 7. the prophet longs and prays for salvation.

"1. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God; they are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good."

It does not appear upon what occasion David composed this Psalm. The revolt of Israel in Absalom's rebellion is by most writers pitched upon as the subject of it. But be this as it may, the expressions are general, and evidently designed to extend beyond a private interpretation. And accordingly, the Apostle, Rom. iii. 10, &c. produces some passages from it, to

evince the apostacy of both Jews and Gentiles from their King and their God, and to prove them to be all under sin. In this light therefore we are to consider it, as characterizing the principles and practices of those who oppose the Gospel of Christ in all ages. "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." Infidelity is the beginning of sin, folly the foundation of infidelity, and the heart the seat of both. "Their foolish heart (says St. Paul of the heathen, Rom. i. 21.) was darkened." The sad consequence of defection in principle is corruption in practice. "They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good." On these words the reader may see a full comment, Rom. i. 28-32.

2. The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. 3. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy, or, putrified: there is none that doeth good, no, not one."

Like a watchman on the top of some lofty tower, God is represented as surveying from his heavenly throne the sons of Adam, and their proceedings upon earth: he scrutinizes them, and as it were, searches diligently, to find among them a man of true wisdom, one whose heart was turned toward the Lord his God, one who was inquiring the way to salvation and glory, that he might walk therein. But as the result of this extensive and accurate survey, God informs his prophet, and commissions him to inform the world, that all had declined from the paths of wisdom and righteousness; that the mass of human nature was become putrid, requiring to be cleansed, and the vessels made of it to be formed anew. Such is the Scripture account of man, not having received grace, or having fallen from it; of man without Christ, or in arms against him. See Rom. iii. 11, 12.

4. Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD."

The "workers of iniquity," work for the wages of death; they fight against God and their own souls; they barter eternity for time, and part with happiness for misery, both in possession and reversion. Well therefore may it be asked, "Have they no knowledge ?" For common sense, after all, is what they want. They who, with an appetite keen as that to their food, prey upon the poor, and devour the people of God, will themselves be preyed upon and devoured by that roaring lion, whose agents for the present they are; and such as now "call not on the name of the Lord" Jesus for pardon and salvation, shall hereafter call in vain upon the rocks and mountains, to shelter them from his power and vengeance.

"5. There were they in great fear; for God is in the generation of the righteous."

In the parallel place, Psalm liii. 5. after the words, "There were they in great fear," are added these," where no fear was," which certainly connect better with what follows, "For God is in the generation of the righteous." David is supposed to be speaking primarily of Israel's defection from him to Absalom, and here to be assigning the motive of that defection in many, namely, fear of the rebel's growing power, and distrust of his ability to protect them; which fear, he observes, was groundless, because his cause was the cause of God, who would not fail to appear in its support and vindication. The subjects of Christ, in times of persecution, are often tempted to renounce their allegiance, upon the same principle of fear; although of them it may more emphatically be said, that they "fear where no fear is, since God is in the generation of the righteous ;" and they who are engaged on the side of the Messiah, will, in the end, most assuredly be triumphant,

Between the preceding verse and this are three others inserted in our common translation, which though taken by St. Paul from other parts of Scripture, yet because (Rom. iii. 13.) they followed the words cited from this Psalm, were probably added thereunto in this place by some transcribers of the copies of the LXX. For in other copies of the LXX. they exist not, any more than in the Hebrew, Chaldee, or Syriac.

The latter clause of this verse, in Psalm liii. runs thus, "For God hath scattered, or, shall scatter the bones of him that encampeth against thee; thou hast, or shalt put them to shame, because God hath despised them:" the sense of which is evidently the same with-"God is in the generation of the righteous:" he will defend them, and overthrow their enemies; therefore let them not fear, neither let their hearts be troubled. If this interpretation be disapproved, the words, "There were they in great fear," must be understood of the enemy, and the clause, "where no fear was," must be rendered interrogatively thus," and was there not cause for them to fear? since God is in the generation of the righteous, or, will scatter the bones of him that encampeth against thee," &c.

"6. Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the LORD is his refuge."

This is plainly addressed to the adversaries, and charges them with reproaching and scoffing at that confidence in the Lord, expressed by the afflicted righteous in the preceding verse.

"7. O that the salvation of Israel were come out of Sion! When the LORD bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad."

The consideration of the apostacy and corruption of mankind, described in this Psalm, makes the prophet express a longing desire for the salvation of Israel, which was to go forth out of Zion, and to bring back the people of God from that most dreadful of all captivities, the captivity under sin and death; a salvation, at which Jacob would indeed rejoice, and Israel be glad. And how doth the whole church, at this time, languish for the consummation of her felicity, looking, even until her eyes fail, for that glorious day of final redemption, when every believing heart shall exult, and all the sons of God shout aloud for joy!




This is one of the Psalms appointed to be used on ascension-day. The Prophet, 1. inquires concerning the person who should ascend into the hill, and dwell in the temple of Jehovah; 2-5. he receives, in answer to his question, a character of such person.

"1. LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill ?"

The prophet alludes to the hill of Sion in the earthly Jerusalem, to the tabernacle of God which was thereon, and the character of the priest, who should officiate in that tabernacle. But all these were figures of a celestial Jerusalem, a spiritual Sion, a true tabernacle, and an eternal priest. To the great originals therefore we must transfer our ideas, and consider the inquiry as made after Him who should fix his resting-place on the heavenly mount, and exercise his unchangeable priesthood in the temple not made with hands. And since the disciples of this new and great High Priest become righteous in him, and are by the Spirit conformed to his image, the character which essentially and inherently belongs only to him, will derivatively belong to them also, who must follow his steps below, if they would reign with him above.

"2. He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart."

The man, therefore, who would be a citizen of Zion, and there enter into

the rest and joy of his Lord, must set that Lord always before him. Renewed through grace, endued with a lively faith, and an operative charity, he must consider and imitate the life of the blessed Person, who walked amongst men, without partaking of their corruptions; who conversed unblameably with sinners; who could give this challenge to his inveterate enemies, "Which of you convinced me of sin?" in whom the grand accuser, when he came, "found nothing;" who, being himself "the truth," thought and spake of nothing else; making many promises, and performing them all.


3. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.'


Who, knowing the sins, follies, and infirmities of all mankind, made his tongue an instrument, not of disclosing and exasperating, but of covering and healing these sores in human nature; who esteeming every son of Adam as his neighbour, went about doing good, and then laid down his life, and resigned his breath in prayer for his murderers; who, instead of taking up a reproach, and listening to the calumniator, cast him out and silenced him, erasing the hand-writing that was against us, and nailing the cancelled indictment to the cross.

"4. In whose eye a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not."

Who rejected the wicked, however rich and honourable; and chose the well-inclined, however poor and contemptible in the world; who, having, by covenant with the Father, engaged to keep the law, and to taste death for every man, went willingly and steadily through this work, and surmounted every obstacle which could be thrown in his way, until he declared concerning the task appointed him, "It is finished."


5. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent."

Who was so far from desiring to amass the earthly mammon that he would touch none of it: and received the true riches only that he might bestow them upon others; who, instead of taking a reward against the innocent, died for the guilty; and whose sentence, when he shall sit on the throne of judgment, will be equally impartial and immutable.

"6. He that doeth these things shall never be moved."

In the above comment, it was thought most adviseable to open and display the full intent of what was both enjoined and forbidden, by exemplifying each particular, as receiving its utmost completion in the character and conduct of our blessed Lord. And whoever shall survey and copy these virtues and graces, as they present themselves in his life, will, it is humbly apprehended, take the best and shortest way to the heavenly Zion, and make that use of the fifteenth Psalm, which the church may be supposed to have had in view, when she appointed it as one of the proper Psalms for Ascension-day.



Upon whatever occasion, or in whatever distress David might compose this Psalm, we are taught by St. Peter and St. Paul, Acts ii. 25, and xiii, 35, to consider him as speaking in the person of our Lord Christ, of whom alone the latter part of the Psalm is true. The contents are, 1, a prayer for support; 2, 3, a declaration of love to the saints; 4, a protestation against idolaters; 5-8, acts of love, joy, and confidence in Jehovah; and 9-11, one of hope in an approaching resurrection and glorification.

"1. Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust." These words are evidently spoken by one in great distress, who addresses

himself to heaven for support under his sufferings, pleading his confidence in God, still unshaken by all the storms that had set themselves against it. This might be the case of David, and may be that of any believer. But since the Psalm is a continued speech without change of person, we may consider the whole as uttered by Him, who could only utter the concluding verses, and who in this first verse makes his supplication to the Father, for the promised and expected deliverance.

"2. O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee; 3. But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight."

In the Chaldee and Syriac, the latter clause of the former of these two verses is rendered-" My goodness is from thee." An ingenious writer thinks the Hebrew will bear this sense, in the elliptical way, thus-" My goodness! shall I mention that? By no means; it is all to be ascribed to thee." The goodness of man is all derived from God, and should be extended to his brethren. That of Messiah owed its original to his union with the Divinity; and promoted the salvation of those to whom it was communicated, that is to say, of those who thereby became "the saints and excellent ones in the earth." For their sakes obedience was performed, and propitiation made, by the Son of God, because he loved them with an everlasting love, and placed "all his delight" in making them happy. He "rejoiced in the habitable parts of the earth, and his delights were with the sons of men," Prov. viii. 31.

4. Their sorrow shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink-offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips."

Christ denounceth vengeance against those who should make to themselves other gods, run after other saviours, or suffer any creature to rival him in their affections; declaring of such that their offerings should not be presented by him to the Father, nor should they be partakers of the benefits of his intercession. Even the bloody sacrifices of the law, instituted for a time by God himself, became abomination to him when that time was expired, and the one great sacrifice had been offered upon the altar of the


"5. The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance, and of my cup; thou maintainest my lot. 6. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage."

The true David, anointed to his everlasting kingdom, yet first a man of sorrows and a stranger upon earth, prefers the promised inheritance of the church, that spiritual kingdom, city, and temple of Jehovah, before all the kingdoms of this world, and the glory of them; he is sure that Jehovah will maintain his lot, that he will both give and preserve to him this his patrimony; and therefore rejoices at the divine beauty and excellency of the heavenly Canaan. And hence the Christian learns wherein his duty and his happiness consist; namely, in making choice of God for " the portion of his inheritance and of his cup," for his support, and for his delight: in preferring the spirit to the flesh, the church to the world, and eternity to time.

7. I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel; my reins also instruct me in the night season.


The person speaking here blesses Jehovah for communicating that divine "counsel," that celestial wisdom, by which he was incited and enabled to make the foregoing choice and resolution. In the latter part of the verse is intimated the mode of these gracious and spiritual communications, which in the dark seasons of adversity were conveyed to the inmost thoughts and affections of the mind, thereby to instruct, to comfort, and to strengthen the sufferer, until his passion should be accomplished, and the morning of

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