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appearence of goodness: thou lovest truth and sincer ity in the bottom of the heart.” This, God was now teaching him, by the correction he made him suffer. The punishment inflicted tended to give him a right understanding of things, and to work it deep into him.
7. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean : wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
He therefore petitions, in this verse, for the purification which comes from God only, through the one great propitiatory sacrifice, by the Holy Spirit; and which was foreshown, under the law, by the ceremony of sprinkling the unclean person with a bunch of * hyssop," dipped in the water of separation.” This rite is described, Numb. xix. and explained, Heb. ix. 13, 14.
“ If the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh; how much more shall the blood of CHRIST, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God!” From the latter part of the verse we learn, that, by grace and mercy, the pardoned penitent is arrayed in garments no less pure and splendid than those of innocence itself.
8. Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
Next to the blessing of forgiveness, is to be desired that joy and comfort in the conscience which forgiveness only can inspire: the effect of this, in repairing the vigour of the spirit, decayed through sorrow and anguish, is compared to setting broken bones, and restoring them again to perfect strength.
9. Hide thy face from my sins; and blot out all mine iniquities.
The soul, still restless and uneasy, reiterates her request, that God would not only cease to behold her iniquity for the present, as a man who turns away his face from a writing, but that he would not behold it more, as a man who blots out what is written, so that it can never be read again.
10. Create in ine a clean heart, O God; and renew a right, or, constant spirit within me.
The purification and renovation of the heart and spirit of a 'man, is a work to which that power only is equal which, in the beginning, created all things, and, in the end, will create all things new. A right spirit is renewed within us, when the affections turn from the world to God, and charity takes the place of concupiscence.
11. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy Spirit from me.
The soul that is truly penitent, dreads nothing but the thought of being rejected from the presence, and deserted by the Spirit of God. This is the most deplorable and irremediable effect of sin; but it is one, that in general perhaps is the least considered and regarded of all others.
12. Restore to me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free Spirit.
David prays to God to restore to him the unspeakable joy of that salvation which, as a prophet, he had
so often contemplated, and celebrated in his divine compositions; he prays also to be preserved and continued in that state of salvation, by the spirit of God, which might enable him to act as became a prophet and a king, free from base desires and enslaving lusts.
13. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
He that would employ his abilities, his influence, and his authority, in the reformation of others, must take care to reform himself, before he enters upon the work. “ When thou art converted,” said Christ to St. Peter, “ strengthen thy brethren.” The history of David has taught us many useful lessons; such as, the frailty of man, the danger of temptation, the torment of sin, the nature and efficacy of repentance, the mercy and the judgments of God, &c. &c. by which many sinners have in all ages since been converted, and inany more will be converted, so long as the Scriptures shall be read, and the 51st Psalm recited in the church.
14. Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation : and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
The unhappy criminal entreats, in this verse, for the divine help and deliverance, as if he not only heard the voice of innocent blood crying from the ground, but as if he saw the murdered Uriah coming upon him for vengeance, like an armed man. If he can but obtain the pardon of this sin, he promises to publish to all the world the righteousness of God, who justifies sinners, and shows mercy to the penitent; though he
must, at the same time, publish likewise his own heinous and horrid wickedness.
15. O LORD, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.
The mouth which sin has closed, can only be opened by pardon: and to show this, he who came, conferring pardon, caused the tongue of the dumb to speak, and to sing praises to the Lord God of Israel. Our church, with great propriety, daily makes her prayer in the words of this verse, before she enters upon that part of her service, which consists of praise and thanksgiving
16. For thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it; thou delightest not in burnt offerings. 17. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
David, in this Psalm, is so evangelical, and has his thoughts so fixed upon Gospel remission, that he considers the Levitical sacrifices as already abolished, for their insufficiency to take away sin; affirming them to be (as indeed they were) nothing, in the sight of God,
if compared with the sacrifice of the body of sin, offer. ied by contrition and mortification, through faith in
Him who, in the fulness of time, was to die unto sin once, that we, together with him, might for ever live unto God.
18. Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion : build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
The king forgets not to ask mercy for his people, as well as for himself; that so neither his own nor their sins might prevent either the building and flourishing of the earthly Jerusalem, or, what was of infinitely greater importance, the promised blessing of MesSIAH, who was to descend from him, and to rear the walls of the new Jerusalem. And thus it ought to be the fervent prayer of every man, especially if he is placed in any exalted station, ecclesiastical or civil, that no sins by him committed, may any way prejudice others, or obstruct the edification of the church.
19. Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering, and whole burnt offering ; then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.
This had its literal accomplishment, when Jerusalem was finished; when the temple was erected on mount Sion; and when the Lord graciously vouchsafed to accept the sacrifices, there offered on his holy altars, by king Solomon, at the head of his faithful and devout people. It is spiritually true in the Christian church, where the substance of all the Mosaic types and shadows is offered and presented to the Father, by the Prince of Peace, at the head of the Israel of God. And it will be eternally verified in the kingdom of heaven, where the sacrifices of righteousness and love, of praise and thanksgiving, will never cease to be offered to him that sitteth on the throne, by the church triumphant in glory,