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and protection; and beseeches him to look upon thę face of his anointed, that is, of David, if he were king of Israel when this Psalm was written; or rather of Messiah, in whom God is always well pleased; for whose sake he has mercy upon us, through whose name and merits our prayers are accepted, and the kingdom of heaven is open to all believers.
10. For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand: I had rathe,
be a door-keeper in the house of my God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness,
One day spent in meditation and devotion affords a pleasure far, far superior to that which an age of worldly prosperity could give. Happier is the least and lowest of the servants of Jesus, than the greatest and most exalted potentate who knoweth him not. And he is no proper judge of blessedness, who hesitates a moment to prefer the condition of a penitent in the porch, to that of a sinner on the throne. If this be the case upon earth, how much more in heaven? O come that one glorious day, whose sun shall never go down, nor any cloud obscure the lustre of his beams; that day, when the temple of God shall be opened in heaven, and we shall be admitted to serve him for ever therein!
11. For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
Jesus Christ is our Lord, and our God; he is a sun to enlighten and direct us in the way, and a shield to protect us against the enemies of our salvation ; le will give grace to carry us on from strength to
strength, and glory to crown us when we appear before him in Zion; he will withhold nothing that is good and profitable for us in the course of our journey, and will himself be our reward when we come to the end of it.
12. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.
While, therefore, we are strangers and sojourners here below, far from that heavenly country where we would be, in whom should we trust, to bring us to the holy city, the new Jerusalem, of which the Lord God and the Lamb are the temple, but in thee, O Saviour and Redeemer, who art the head of every creature, the Captain of the armies of heaven and earth, the Lord of hosts, and the King of glory? Blessed, thrice blessed, is the man that trusteth in thee.
This Psalm is called, in its title, “ A prayer of Moses,
the man of God.” By him it is imagined to have been composed when God shortened the days of the murmuring Israelites in the wilderness. It is, however, a Psalm of general use, and is made, by the church, a part of her funeral service. It contains an address to the eternal and unchangeable God, the Saviour and Preserver of his people; a most affecting description of man's mortal and transitory state on earth since the fall; a complaint, that few meditate in such a manner upon death, as to prepare themselves for it; a prayer for grace so to do; and for the mercies of redemption.
1. LORD, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. 2. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God.
The Psalmist, about to describe man's fleeting and transitory state, first directs us to contemplate the unchangeable nature and attributes of God, who hath always been a dwelling place, or place of defence and refuge, affording protection and comfort to his people in the world, as he promised to be before the world began, and will, in a more glorious manner, continue to be after its dissolution.
3. Thou turnest man to destruction : and sayest, Return, ye children of men.
Death was the penalty inflicted on man for sin. The latter part of the verse alludes to the fatal sentence; “ Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." How apt are we to forget both our original and our end!
4. For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yes. terday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
The connection between the verse preceding and the verse now before us, seems to be this. God sentenced man to death. It is true, the execution of the sentence was at first deferred, and the term of human life suffered to extend to near a thousand years. But what was even that, what is any period of time, or time itself, if compared to the duration of the Eternal ? All time is equal, when it is past; a thousand years, when gone, are forgotten as yesterday; and the longest life of man, to a person who looks back upon it, may appear only as one quarter of the night.
5. Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up; or, as grass that changeth. 6. In the morning it flourisheth and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth.
The shortness of life, and the suddenness of our departure hence, are illustrated by three similitudes. The first is that of a flood; or torrent pouring unexpectedly and impetuously from the mountains, and sweeping all before it in an instant. The second is that of sleep, from which when a man awakes, he thinks the time passed in it to have been nothing. In the third similitude, man is compared to the grass of the field. In the morning of youth fair and beautiful, he grows up and flourishes; in the evening of old age, (and how often before that evening !) he is cut down by the stroke of death: all his juices, to the circulation of which he stood indebted for life, health, and strength, are dried up; he withers, and turns again to his earth. “Surely all flesh is grass, and all the goodlines, thereof is as the flower of the field!" Of this truth, the word of God, the voice of nature, and daily experience, join to assure us: yet who orders his life and conversation as if he believed it?
7. For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled. 8. Thou hast set our iniquities before thee ; our secret sins in the light of thy counte
The generations of men are troubled and consumed by divers diseases, and sundry kinds of death, through the displeasure of God; his displeasure is occasioned by their sins, all of which he sees and punishes. If Moses wrote this Psalm, the provocations and chastisements of Israel are here alluded to. But the case of the Israelites in the wilderness is the case of Chris. tians in the world, and the same thing is true both in them and in us.
9. For all our days are passed away in thy wrath ; we spend our years as a tale that is told.