Imatges de pÓgina

Having explained the Evangelical character of this

Psalm, some notice may next be taken of its peculiar
adaptation to Christian experience. The several
graces of the Scriptural system, delineated in this
Psalm, form an excellent touchstone of the sincerity
of our profession, by marking its practical influence in
our daily walk and conversation;—a touchstone which
appears especially needful in this day of profession ;
not-as warranting our confidence in the Saviour, or as
constituting in any measure our ground of acceptance
with God; but as exciting us to "give diligence to
make our calling and election sure," 13 and tending to
quicken our sluggish steps in the path of self-denying
obedience. The Writer is free to confess, that his
main design in the study of this Psalm was to furnish


his own mind with a correct standard of Evangelical sincerity in the habitual scrutiny of his own heart; and if, in the course of this Exposition, any suggestion should be thrown out, to call the attention of his fellow-christians to this most important, but alas! too much neglected, duty, he will have reason to rejoice in the day of Christ, that he has not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” Never let it be supposed, that a diligent, prayerful, probing examination of "the chambers of imagery," "gendereth unto bondage." Invariably will it be found to open the way to a more established enjoyment of Scriptural assurance. • Hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.1 As therefore the preceptive part of the Gospel thus becomes our guide in the happy path of filial obedience, our beloved rule of duty, and the standard of our daily progress; we shall learn in the use of it to depend more entirely upon the Saviour, fresh energy will be put into our prayers, and the promises of pardon and grace will be doubly precious to our souls.


It cannot then be, that these views of the Divine life should be found unfriendly to the best happiness of mankind. We observe this Psalm to open with a

1 'I know of no part of the Holy Scriptures' (remarks a profound divine), 'where the nature and evidences of true and sincere godliness are so fully and largely insisted on and delineated as in the 119th Psalm. The Psalmist declares his design in the first verses of the Psalm, keeps his eye on it all along, and pursues it to the end. The excellence of holiness is represented as the immediate object of a spiritual taste and delight. God's law-that grand expression and emanation of the holiness of God's nature, and prescription of holiness to the creature-is all along represented as the great object of the love, the complacence, and the rejoicing of the gracious nature, which prizes God's commandments "above gold, yea the finest gold;" and to which they are "sweeter than the honey and the honey-comb."-Edwards on Religious Affections, Part iii. Sect. iii.

* 1 John iii. 19. with 18, 20, 21.


most inviting picture of blessedness, and to describe throughout the feelings of one, encompassed indeed with trials superadded to the common lot of men, but yet evidently in possession of a satisfying portion -of a "joy, with which a Saviour does not intermeddle." Of those, therefore, who would affix the stigma of melancholy to Evangelical religion, we are constrained to remark-that they "understand neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm." The children of Edom have never tasted the "clusters of Canaan," and cannot therefore form any just estimate of that goodly land. They that have spied the land, can bring a good report of it, and can tell them


Surely it floweth with milk and honey, and this is the fruit of it."3 "The work of righteousness is peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever." 4

The structure of this Psalm is peculiar-divided into twenty-two parts-agreeing with the number of the letters of the Hebrew Alphabet-each part, and its several verses, beginning with the corresponding letter of the Alphabet.5 The whole Psalm is in the form of an ejaculatory address, with the exception of the first three verses, which may almost be considered as the preface to the whole, and one other verse in the course of it, where the man of God rebukes the ungodly from his presence, as if intruding into his hiding-place," and interrupting his communion with his God. 6 It is not always easy to trace the connexion

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1 Proverbs xiv. 10.

3 Numbers xiii. 27.

1 Timothy i. 7.

4 Isaiah xxxii. 17.


5 Intelligimus ideo per literas Hebræorum, Psalmum hunc esse digestum, ut homo noster, tanquam parvulus, et ab infantia per literarum elementa formatus, quibus ætas puerilis assuevit, usque ad maturitatem virtutis exerceat. Ambrose.

6 Verse 115, with 113, 114.

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