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Psalm 119: Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings

| Verses 1-44 | Verses 45-88 | Verses 89-132 | Verses 133-176 |

Preface - Introduction - Notes - Exposition - Works Upon This Psalm
Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings - Hints to the Village Preacher

LAMED. Verse 89. Here the climax of the delineation of the suppliant's pilgrimage is reached. We have arrived at the centre of the psalm, and the thread of the connexion is purposely broken off. The substance of the first eleven strophes has evidently been: "Hitherto hath the Lord brought me: shall it be that I now perish?" To this the eleven succeeding strophes make answer," The Lord's word changeth not; and in spite of all evil foreboding, the Lord will perfect concerning ms the work that he hath already begun." -- Joseph Francis Thruput, 1860.

Verse 89. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. These words are usually rendered as making but one proposition; but the accent athnab showeth there are two branches; the one asserting the eternity of God; the other, the constancy and permanency of his word. Thus,

1. "For ever art thou O LORD."

2. "Thy word is settled in heaven." So the Syriac readeth it; and Geierus, and, after him, others prove and approve this reading. And so this verse and the following do the better correspond one with the other, if we observe beginning and ending: As thou art "for ever, O Lord," and "thy faithfulness is unto all generations," which are exactly parallel. And so also will the last clauses agree: "Thy word is settled in heaven," and," thou hast established the earth, and it abideth."

It implies that as God is eternal, so is his word, and that it hath a fit representation both in heaven and in earth: in heaven, in the constant motion of the heavenly bodies; in earth, in the consistency and permanency thereof; that as his word doth stand fast in heaven, so doth his faithfulness on earth, where the afflictions of the godly seem to contradict it. -- Thomas Manton.

Verse 89. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. When Job considers his body turned to dust and worms (Job 14:19,25), yet by faith he says," My Redeemer lives," etc. Even when patience failed in Job, yet faith failed not. Though God kill all other graces and comforts, and my soul too, yet he shall not kill my faith, says lie. If he separate my soul from my body, yet not faith from my soul. And therefore the just lives by faith, rather than by other graces, because when all is gone, yet faith remains, and faith remains because the promise remains: "For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven." And this is the proper and principal meaning of this place. Matthew Lawrence.

Verse 89. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. If we look at God's word of promise, as it is in our unsettled hearts, we dream that it's as ready to waver as our hearts are; as the shadow of the sun and moon in the water seems to shake as much as the water doth which it shines upon. Yet for all this seeming shaking here below, the sun and moon go on m a steadfast course in heaven. So the Psalmist tells us that however our hearts stagger at a promise through unbelief, nay, and our unbelief makes us believe that the promise often is shaken; yet God's word is settled, though not in our hearts, yet "in heaven"; yea, and there "for ever," as settled as heaven itself is; yea, more than so; for "heaven and earth may pass," but "not one jot or tittle of the law (and therefore of the gospel) shall fail": Lu 16:17. Anthony Tuckney, 1599-1670.

Verse 89. Settled. J. M. Good translates the verse as follows-- "For ever, O Jehovah, hath thy word given array to the heavens," and observes that the Hebrew word bub is a military term, and applies to arraying and marshalling the divisions of an army in their proper stations when taking the field. The hosts of heaven are here supposed to be arrayed or marshalled with a like exact order; and to maintain for ever the relative duties imposed on them: while the earth, like the heavens, has as established a march prescribed to it, which it equally fulfils; for all are the servants of the great Creator; and hence, as they change, produce the beautiful regularity of the seasons, the rich returns of harvest, and daily declare the glory of the Lord.

Verse 89. In heaven. Whenever you look to heaven, remember that within you have a God, who hath fixed his residence and shown his glory there, and made it the seat both of his mercy and justice. You have also there a Saviour who, after he had died for our sins, sat down at the right hand of Majesty, to see his promises accomplished, and by his word to subdue the whole world. There are angels that "do his commandment, hearkening to the voice of his word": Ps 103:20. There are glorified saints, who see God face to face, and dwell with him for evermore, and came thither by the same covenant which is propounded to us, as the charter of our peace and hope. In the outer region of heaven we see the sun and moon, and all the heavenly bodies, move in that fixed course and order wherein God hath set them; and will God show his constancy in the course of nature, and be fickle and changeable in the covenant of grace, wherein he hath disposed the order and method of his mercies? -- Thomas Manton.

Verses 89, 91. In these verses there is affirmed to be an analogy between the word of God and the works of God. It is said of his "word, "that it is "settled in heaven," and that it sustains its faithfulness from one generation to another. It is said of his "works," and more especially of those that are immediately around us, even of the earth which we inhabit, that as it was established at the first so it abideth afterwards. And then, as if to perfect the assimilation between them, it is said of both in Ps 119:91," They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are ray servants"; thereby identifying the sureness of that word which proceeded from his lips, with the unfailing constancy of that Nature which was formed and is upholden by his hands. The constancy of Nature is taught by universal experience, and even strikes the popular eye as the most characteristic of those features which have been impressed upon her. It may need the aid of philosophy to learn how unvarying Nature is in all her processes-- how even the seeming anomalies can be traced to a law that is inflexible-- how what appears at first to be the caprices of her waywardness, are, in fact, the evolutions of a mechanism that never changes-- and that the more thoroughly she is sifted and put to the test by the interrogations of the curious, the more certainly will they find that she walks by a rule which knows no abatement, and perseveres with obedient footstep in that even course from which the eye of strictest scrutiny has never yet detected one hair breadth of deviation. It is no longer doubted by men of science, that every remaining semblance of irregularity in the universe is due, not to the fickleness of Nature, but to the ignorance of man-- that her most hidden movements are conducted with a uniformity as rigorous as Fate -- that even the fitful agitations of the weather have their law and their principle-- that the intensity of every breeze, and the number of drops in every shower, and the formation of every cloud, and all the occurring alternations of storm and sunshine, and the endless shifting of temperature, and those tremulous varieties of the air which our instruments have enabled us to discover but have not enabled us to explain-- that still, they follow each other by a method of succession, which, though greatly more intricate, is yet as absolute in itself as the order of the seasons, or the mathematical courses of astronomy. This is the impression of every philosophical mind with regard to Nature, and it is strengthened by each new accession that is made to science...But there is enough of patent and palpable regularity in Nature to give also to the popular mind the same impression of her constancy. There is a gross and general experience that teaches the same lesson, and that has lodged in every bosom a kind of secure and steadfast confidence in the uniformity of her processes. The very child knows and proceeds upon it. He is aware of an abiding character and property in the elements around him, and has already learned as much of the fire, and the water, and the food that he eats, and the firm ground that he treads upon, and even of the gravitation by which he must regulate his postures and his movements, as to prove that, infant though he be, he is fully initiated in the doctrine, that Nature has her laws and her ordinances, and that she continueth therein, and the proofs of this are ever multiplying along the journey of human observation; insomuch that when we come to manhood, we read of Nature's constancy throughout every department of the visible world.

It meets us wherever we turn our eyes. . . . God has so framed the machinery of my perceptions, as that I am led irresistibly to expect that everywhere events will follow each other in the very train in which I have ever been accustomed to observe them; and when God so sustains the uniformity of Nature, that in every instance it is rigidly so, he is just manifesting the faithfulness of his character. Were it otherwise, he would be practising a mockery on the expectation which he himself had inspired. God may be said to have promised to every human being that Nature will be constant-- if not by the whisper of an inward voice to every heart, at least by the force of an uncontrollable bias which he has impressed on every constitution. So that, when we behold Nature keeping up its constancy, we behold the God of Nature keeping up his faithfulness; and the system of visible things with its general laws, and its successions which are invariable, instead of an opaque materialism to intercept from the view of mortals the face of the Divinity, becomes the mirror which reflects upon the truth that is unchangeable, the ordination that never fails...And so it is, that in our text there are presented together, as if there was a tie of likeness between them-- that the same God who is fixed as to the ordinances of Nature, is faithful as to the declarations of his word; and as all experience proves how firmly he may be trusted for the one, so is there an argument as strong as experience, to prove how firmly he may be trusted for the other. By his work in us he hath awakened the expectation of a constancy in Nature, which he never disappoints. By his word to us, should he awaken the expectation of a certainty in his declarations, this he will never disappoint. It is because Nature is so fixed, that we apprehend the God of Nature to be so faithful. He who never falsities the hope that hath arisen in every bosom, from the instinct which he himself hath communicated, will never falsify the hope that shall arise in any bosom from the express utterance of his voice. Were he a God in whose hand the processes of nature were ever shifting, then might we conceive him a God from whose mouth the proclamations of grace had the like characters of variance and vacillation. But it is just because of our reliance on the one that we feel so much of repose in our dependence upon the other; and the same God who is so unfailing in the ordinances of his creation, we hold to be equally unfailing in the ordinances of his word. Thomas Chalmers.

Verse 90. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations. As he gathered, the certainty of God's word from the endurance of heaven, so now he confirms it by considering the foundation of the earth. Since the foundation of the earth, made by the word of God, abides sure, shall we not think that the foundation of our salvation laid in Jesus Christ, is much more sure? Though the creatures cannot teach us the way of our salvation (for that we must learn by the word), yet do they confirm that which the word saith," Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; the LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever:" Jer 31:85,36. As there Jeremy gathers the stability of the church from the stability of the creatures; so here David confirms the certainty of our salvation by the most certain and unchangeable course of creation; and both of them are amplified by Christ Jesus: "Heaven and earth may pass away, but one jot of God's word shall not fall to the ground." Let us therefore be strengthened in faith and give glory to God. William Cowper.

Verse 90. Thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. Every time we set foot on the ground, we may remember the stability of God's promises, and it is also a confirmation of faith. Thus,

1. The stability of the earth is the effect of God's word; this is the true pillar upon which the earth standeth; for he upholdeth all things by the word of his power; "For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast": Ps 33:9. Now, his word of power helpeth us to depend upon his word of promise.

2. Nothing appeareth whereon the globe of the earth should lean and rest: "He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing:" Job 26:7. Now, that this vast and ponderous body should lean upon the fluid air as upon a firm foundation, is matter of wonder; the question is put in the book of Job: "Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the cornerstone thereof?" Job 38:6. Yet firm it is, though it hang as a ball in the air...Now, since his word beareth up such a weight, and all the church's weight, and our own burden leaneth on the promise of God, he can, by the power of his word, bear up all without visible means. Therefore his people may trust his providence; he is able to support them in any distresses, when no way of help appeareth.

3. The firmness and stability offereth itself to our thoughts. The earth abideth in the same seat and condition wherein God left it, as long as the present course and order of nature is to continue: Ps 104:5. God's truth is as immovable as the earth: Ps 117:2. Surely if the foundation of the earth abideth sure, the foundation of our salvation, laid by Jesus Christ, is much more sure.

4. The stability remains in the midst of changes: Ec 1:4. All things in the world are subject to many revolutions, but God's truth is one and the same.

5. In upholding the frame of the world, all those attributes are seen, which are a firm stay to a believer's heart, such as wisdom, power, and goodness. The covenant of grace is as sure as the covenant made after the deluge. We cannot look upon this earth without seeing therein a display of those same attributes which confirm our faith, in waiting upon God till his promises be fulfilled to us. Condensed from T. Manton.

Verse 90. It abideth. Creation is as the mother, and Providence the nurse which preserveth all the works of God. God is not like man; for man, when he hath made a work, cannot maintain it: he buildeth a ship, and cannot save it from shipwreck; he edifies a house, but cannot keep it from decay. It is otherwise with God; we daily see his conserving power, upholding his creatures; which should confirm us that he will not cast us off, nor suffer us to perish (since we are the works of his hands) if we so depend upon him, and give him glory as our Creator, Conserver, and Redeemer. William Cowper.

Verse 91. They continue this day according to thine ordinances, etc. Which of the works of God are not pervaded by a beautiful order? Think of the succession of day and night. Think of the revolution of the seasons. Think of the stars as they walk in their majestic courses, -- one great law of harmony "binding the sweet influence of the Pleiades, ...and guiding Arcturus with his sons": Job 38:31-32. Look upwards, amid the magnificence of might, to that crowded concave, -- worlds piled on worlds, -- and yet see the calm grandeur of that stately march; -- not a discordant note there to mar the harmony, though wheeling at an Inconceivable velocity in their intricate and devious orbits! These heavenly sentinels all keep their appointed watch towers. These Levites in the upper firmament, light their altar fires "at the time of the evening incense," and quench them again, when the sun, who is appointed to rule the day, walks forth from his chamber. "These wait all upon thee": Ps 104:27. "They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants." -- J.R. Macduff, in "Sunsets on the Hebrew Mountains," 1862.

Verse 91. They continue this day according to thine ordinances. Man may destroy a plant, but he is powerless to force it into disobedience to the laws given it by the common Creator. "If," says one," man would employ it for his use, he must carefully pay attention to its wants and ways, and bow his own proud will to the humblest grass at his feet. Man may forcibly obstruct the path of a growing twig, but it turns quietly aside, and moves patiently and irresistibly on its appointed way.". Do what he may, turf wilt not grow in tile tropics, nor the palm bear its fruit in a cold climate. Rice refuses to thrive out of watery swamps, or cotton to form its fleece of snowy fibres where the rain can reach them. Some of the handsomest flowers in the world, and stranger still, some of the most juicy and succulent plants with which we are acquainted, adorn the arid and desolate sands of the Cape of Good Hope, and wilt not flourish elsewhere. If you twist the branch of a tree so as to turn the under surface of its leaves towards the sky, in a very little while all those leaves will turn down and assume their appointed position. This process will be performed sooner or later, according to the heat of the sun and the flexibility of the leaves, but none the less it will surely take place. You cannot induce the Sorrowful tree of India to bloom by day, or cause it to cease all the year round from loading the night air with the rich perfume of its orange like flowers. The philosopher need not go far to find the secret of this. The Psalmist declares it when, speaking of universal nature, he traces the true cause of its immutable order. God, he says," hath established them for ever and ever: He hath made a decree which shall not pass; "or, as it is in the Prayer book version," hath given them a law which shall not be broken": Ps 148:6. Truly is it said in another Ps 114:91," They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants." Wilful man may dare to defy his Maker, and set at nought his wise and merciful commands; but not so all nature besides. Well, indeed, is it for us that his other works have not erred after the pattern of our rebellion; that seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, with all their accompanying provision, have not ceased! To the precepts imposed upon vegetation when first called into being on creation's third day, it stilt yields implicit submission, and the most tender plant will die rather than transgress. What an awful contrast to this is the conduct of man, God's noblest work, endowed with reason and a never dying soul, yet too often ruining his health, wasting and destroying his mental power, defiling his immortal spirit, and, in a word, madly endeavouring to frustrate every purpose for which he was framed. James Neil, in "Rays from the Realms of Nature," 1879.

Verse 91. All creatures punctually observe the law he hath implanted on their nature, and in their several capacities acknowledge him their sovereign; they move according to the inclinations he imprinted on them. The sea contains itself in its bounds, and the sun steps not out of his sphere; the stars march in their order: "They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants." If he orders things contrary to their primitive nature they obey him. When he speaks the word, the devouring fire becomes gentle, and toucheth not the hair of the children he will preserve; the hunger starved lions suspend their ravenous nature when so good a morsel as Daniel is set before them; and the sun, which had been in perpetual motion since its creation, obeys the writ of ease God sent in Joshua's time, and stands still. Stephen Charnock.

Verse 91. All are thy servants. We should consider how great is that perversity by which man only, formed in the image of God, together with reprobate angels, has fallen away from obedience to God; so that what is said of all other creatures cannot be said of him, unless renewed by singular grace. Wolfgang Musculus.

Verse 91. All are thy servants. Since all creatures must serve God, therefore we ought neither to use them for any other purpose, nor turn them to the service of sin. The creature by the sin of our first parents has been made subject to vanity, and groans, and longs to be delivered, Romans 8: Christians, therefore, who use the creature and the world, should use as not abusing, 1 Corinthians 7; but enjoy them with praise of the divine majesty and goodness, 1 Timothy 4. Solomon Gesner.

Verse 91. All are thy servants.

Say not, my soul," From whence
Can God relieve my care?
Remember that Omnipotence
Has servants everywhere."
-- Thomas T. Lynch, 1855.

Verse 92. Unless thy law had been my delights, etc. This text sets out the great benefit and comfort which David found in the law of God in the time of his affliction. It kept him from perishing: "Had not thy law been my delights, I had perished in ray affliction"...David speaks this (saith Musculus) of the distressful condition he was in when persecuted by Saul, forced to fly to the Philistines, and sometimes to hide himself in the rocks and caves of the earth. It is very likely (saith he) that he had the book of God's law with him, by the reading of which he mitigated and allayed his sorrows, and kept himself pure from communicating with the heathen in their superstitions. The Greek scholiasts say that David uttered these words when driven from Saul, and compelled to live among the Philistines, etc. For he would have been allured to have communicated with them in their impieties had he not carried about him the meditation of the word of God. The word of God delighted in is the afflicted saint's antidote against ruin and destruction. The word of God is the sick saint's salve, the dying saint's cordial, a precious medicine to keep God's people from perishing in time of affliction. This upheld Jacob from sinking, when his brother Esau came furiously marching to destroy him (Ge 32:12). He pleaded," And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good," etc. Thus the promise of God supported him. This also upheld Joshua and enabled him courageously to fight the Lord's battles, because God had said," He would never leave him nor forsake him" (Jos 1:5). Melanethon saith that the Landgrave of Hesse told him at Dresden that it had been impossible for him to have borne up under the manifold miseries of so long an imprisonment, Nisi habuisset consolationem verbo divino in suo corde, but for the comfort of the Scriptures in his heart. Edmund Catamy (1600-1666) in "The Godly Man's Ark."

Verse 92. Certainly the reading of most part of the Scriptures must needs be a very comfortable thing; and I think a godly heart (disposed as it ought to be) can hardly tell how to be sad while it does it. For what a comfort is it for a man to read an earthly father's letters sent to him, though they were written long ago? With what care do we keep such letters in our chests? With how much delight do we ever and anon take them out and look upon them? and with how much sorrow do we lose them? Is my love to my earthly father so great, and shall my love to my heavenly Father be less? Can my heart choose but rejoice and my bones flourish like an herb, as oft as I look upon my Redeemer's last will and testament, whereby I know that he me so much and that he doth so for me continually, and that I shall be ever with him.

How is David ever and anon talking of his delight in the law of God, and in his statutes and testimonies. It was to him instead of all other delights; standing by him when all delights else left him; "Unless thy law had been my delight (or, my very great delight), I should then have perished in mine affliction," Ps 119:92. Let princes sit and speak against him never so much; yet will he meditate in God's statutes, Ps 119:23. Let him have never so many persecutors and enemies; yet will he not decline from God's testimonies, Ps 119:157. Let him be in a strange place, there shall God's statutes be his song, Ps 119:54. Let him be a stranger in the earth all his life; so that he be not a stranger to God's commandments he cares not, Ps 119:19. Although he should have never so much contempt cast upon him, yet will he not forget God's precepts, Ps 119:141. Although his soul should be continually in his hand, yet that should not make him forget God's law. Yea, although he became like a bottle in the smoke, yet will he not forget God's precepts, Ps 119:83. And therefore was it that he rejoiced, because he had been afflicted upon this account, that it made him learn God's statutes. He cared for no other wealth. "Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart," Ps 119:111. Neither cared he much for life, but only to keep God's word, Ps 119:17. Whatever he had said before, or meant to say next, he still cries," Teach me thy statutes," and," I have longed for thy precepts," &c.; or some such expression or other. He could not forbear to speak of them, for they were still before him, Ps 119:30. No wonder, then, that he meditated upon them so often, as he saith he did. "O how I love thy law! it is my meditation all the day," Ps 119:97. And "Thy testimonies are my meditation," Ps 119:99. God's commandments were to David sweeter in his mouth than honey, to talk and discourse of them, Ps 119:103. Zachary Bogan, 1653.

Verse 92. The persons to whose delight the word of God actually conduces are the children of God, and none else. None but they are prepared to take in the consolation of the word.

1. As they only are spiritually enlightened to discern the great and comfortable things contained in it, enlightened in a manner in which no others are: "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1Co 2:4).

2. As they have the highest value for the word of God, this prepares them for receiving consolation from it.

3. As they have their hearts and ways suited to the word of God, this is another reason of the delight they fetch from it. "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh," and take pleasure in them; "but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit" (Ro 8:5). The comforts of the word are spiritual; and only the spiritual heart, as it is renewed by grace, can taste and relish them. The delight which the people of God have from the word, is a privilege peculiar to themselves: and this word hath enough to give delight to all of their numbers -- Daniel Wilcox, 1676-1733.

Verse 92. My delights. The word signifieth delights in the plural number. Many were the sorrows of David's life; but against them all he found as many comforts and delectations in God's word. With such variety of holy wisdom hath God penned his word, that it hath convenient comfort for every state of life, and therefore the children of God account nothing so dear as it; they prefer it to their appointed food. William Cowper.

Verse 92. Thy law...my delights...in mine affliction. I happened to be standing in a grocer's shop one day in a large manufacturing town in the west of Scotland, when a poor, old, frail widow came in to make a few purchases. There never was, perhaps, in that town a more severe time of distress. Nearly every loom was stopped. Decent and respectable tradesmen, who had seen better days, were obliged to subsist on public charity. So much money per day (but a trifle at most) was allowed to the really poor and deserving. The poor widow had received her daily pittance, and she had now come into the shop of the grocer to lay it out to the best advantage. She had but a few coppers in her withered hands. Carefully did she expend her little stock-- a pennyworth of this and the other necessary of life nearly exhausted all she had. She came to the last penny, and with a singular expression of heroic contentment and cheerful resignation on her wrinkled face, she said," Now I must buy oil with this, that I may see to read my Bible during these long dark nights, for it is my only comfort now when every other comfort has gone away." -- Alexander Wallace, in "The Bible and the Working Classes," 1853.

Verse 92. This verse I may call a Perfume against the Plague; The Sick Man's Salve; The Afflicted Man's Consolation; and a blessed Triumph, in and over all troubles. Richard Greenham.

Verse 93. I will never forget thy precepts, etc. Forgetfulness must be striven against in every possible way, lest it should gradually creep in, through ingratitude, old age, weakness of mind, or other overwhelming cares. See Ps 119:16,61,83. Martin Geier.

Verse 93. I will never forget thy precepts, etc. This afflicted good man is now comforted; his comfort came from his delight in God's law; he thinks of it, he feels the force of it, and therefore to the end that he might ever receive the like comforts, he will bind himself by a promise to the Lord that he will never forget his precepts; adding a reason, namely, that they were to him spirit and life. With them hast thou quickened me. Quickened he was, as he saith, by God, but yet also by the word, soundly preached, savingly understood, and particularly applied to the conscience. Thus then doth the power of Christ's death make us to walk on in newness of life. No aqua vitae, or celestis like unto this, by which we have inward peace of conscience, and an outward obedience to God's commandments. David rejoiced in this blessing, , so ought we: we desire to be ever quick, and cheerful to all good duties; it is only God, by his Spirit, in the word, that can give it. Richard Greenham.

Verse 93. With them thou hast quickened me. The quickening Spirit delights to work by means of the word; but though the word be the means, yet the benefit comes from God: "For with them thou hast quickened me." Life comes, from the fountain of life. The gospel is a sovereign plaster; but it is God's hand that must apply it, and make it stick; make it to be peace, comfort, and quickening to our souls. There is a double quickening, when, from dead, we are made living; or when, from cold, and sad, and heavy, we are made lively...and so not only have life, but enjoy it more abundantly, according to Christ's gracious promise (Joh 10:10); that they may be living, lively, kept still in rigour. Now, this second quickening may be taken, either more largely, for the vitality of grace; or, strictly, for actual comfort Largely taken; so God quickens by increasing the life of: grace; either internally, by promising the life of grace; or morally and externally, by promising the life of glory. More strictly, his quickening may be taken for comfort and support in his affliction; so it is likely to be taken here: he had said immediately before, "Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in my affliction"; and now," I will never forget thy precepts, for with them thou hast quickened me." It was great comfort and support to him; and therefore he should prize the word as long as he lived. Thomas Manton.

Verse 93. Thou hast quickened me. Leave not off reading the Bible till you find your hearts warmed. Read the word, not only as a history, but labour to be affected with it. Let it not only inform you, but inflame you. "Is not my word like a fire? saith the Lord": Jer 23:29. Go not from the word till you can say as those disciples," Did not our hearts burn within us?" Lu 24:32. Thomas Watson.

Verse 94. I am thine, save me. David, a man after God's own heart, would be saved, but not after the manner of the men of this world, that would be saved to be their own and to enjoy themselves at their own will; but he in being saved would be God's, and at his disposing: "I am thine, save me."

There is a threefold strength in this argument.

1. The law of nature, which obliges a father to be good to his child, the husband to his wife, etc., and God hath subjected himself more unto the law of nature, he lies more under it, than any of these; and doth more perfectly, fully, and gloriously fulfil this law of nature than any; there is no father like him, no friend, no husband like him. "Can a woman forget her sucking child? Yet will I not forget thee:" Isa 44:15. A mother can hardly do it; nature teacheth her to have bowels, and a merciful remembrance towards her child; much, note will I, saith God.

2. When we can say to God, "I am thine," we plead the covenant which God hath made with us, wherein he is become our father and friend: and this is that which was pleaded in Isa 63:16: "Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not (because they are gone, and so have no cognizance of us now); yet thou, O Lord, art our Father, our Redeemer; thy name is from everlasting." See what a conclusion here is made; doubtless thou art our Father, and therefore we call to thee for help.

3. There is this encouragement and strength that the spirit of, a man receives in thus arguing with God, that if he can say in truth," I am thine," God much more will say to the creature," I am thine." If we have so much love to offer ourselves to God, to become his; much more will the love of God make him to become ours; for God loves first, and most, and surest. If mine heart rise toward God, much more is the heart of God toward me; because there love is in the fountain. Never did a spouse speak to her husband, whom her soul loved to the highest, more willingly, and say," I am thine," than the spirit of an upright man saith to God," Lord, I am thine." And he loves him with a love of thankfulness. Hast thou given thyself to me, saith he, and shall I then withhold myself from thee? Hast thou, who art so great, done all this for me, and shall I stand out against thee? The gracious man will willingly acknowledge himself to be the Lord's. The saints often do this: David above twenty times comes with this acknowledgment in this psalm, and in Ps 116:16: "I am thy servant; I am thy servant." To say it once was not enough; he saith it again, to show the sincerity of his spirit, and to witness that his heart was fully pleased with this, that he was not his own, but the Lord's. The knowledge of our interest in God doth much further our approaches to God. When a man is once assured, and can say with a clear spirit," I am thine," he will naturally cry," Save me." Such a man is a man of prayer, he is much in addresses to God, and conversing with him. -- Joseph Symonds, 1653.

Verse 94. I am thine. This is an excellent motive to draw from the Lord help in trouble, -- "I am thine." Thine by creation, I was made by thee; thine by adoption, I was assigned over to thee; thine by donation, I was given to thee; thine by marriage, I was espoused to thee; thine by redemption, I was purchased by thee; thine by stipulation, I have vowed myself unto thee. Richard Greenham.

Verse 94. For I have sought thy precepts. See here how David qualifies his protestation: from his earnest affection to l he word of God, he proves that he was God's man and not his own servant. It is not words, but affections and actions which must prove us to be the Lord's. Tuus sum, quia id solum qued tuum est quaesivi:I am thine because I sought nothing but that which is thine, and how I might please thee. Mihi in tuis justificationibus est omne poatrimonium:in the observance of thy precepts is all my patrimony. William Cowper.

Verse 94.

1. David claims relation to God: "I am thine" -- devoted to thee, and owned by thee, thine in covenant.

2. He proves his claim: "I am thine, save me; for Y have sought thy precepts"; i.e., I have carefully enquired concerning my duty, and diligently endeavoured to do it.

3. He Improves. His claim: "I am thine, save me." Save me from sin, save me from ruin. Mr. Henry.

Verse 94.

1. A great prayer: "Save me."
2. A grand prayer: "I am thine."
3. A gracious experience: "I have sought," etc.

Verse 94.

1. Relation: "I am thine."
2. Preservation: "save me."
3. Obligation: "I have sought," etc. G.R.

Verse 94.

1. God's child humbly points out to him his responsibility: "I am thine."

2. Ventures to urge his own sincerity: he has at least "sought."

3. With these two hands extended, he utters a sharp cry for help: "save me." -- W.B.H.

Verse 94. Multum in parvo.

1. A profession.
2. A prayer.
3. A plea. C.A.D.

Verse 94.

1. God's interest in us.
2. Our interest in God. W.D.

Verse 94. The characteristics of personal religion.

1. Personal devotedness to God: "I am thine."
2. Personal obedience rendered: "I have sought thy precepts."
3. Personal expectation cherished: "save me." -- J.F.

Verse 94. The courage obedience gives.

1. It emboldens us to a firm assurance: "I am thine, for I have," etc.

(a) We become God's by faith alone.

(b) But the assurance of being his cannot exist without obedience; obedience proves the faith to ourselves; satisfies us concerning grace received.

(c) Poor obedience always interferes with assurance.

2. It emboldens us to pray, and in prayer: "Save me."

(a) The Christian's prayers are only of faith and offered in faith.

(b) Yet disobedience makes: him shrink from approaching God in prayer, and renders him feeble in petitioning.

(c) Obedience is humble but bold. The middle clause of the text applies equally to the first and third clauses. J.F.

Verse 95. The wicked have waited for me to destroy me. Two things again he notes in his enemies; diligence, in waiting all occasions whereby to do him evil; and cruelty without mercy, for their purpose was to destroy him: wherein, still we see how restless and insatiable is the malice of the wicked against the godly. Daniel's preservation in the lions' den was a great miracle; but it is no less a marvellous work of God, that the godly who are the flock of Christ, are daily preserved in the midst of the wicked, who are but ravening wolves, and thirst for the blood of the saints of God, having a cruel purpose in their heart if they might perform it, utterly to destroy them. -- William Cowper.

Verse 95. But I will consider thy testimonies. It was a grievous temptation to be sought for to be given up to slaughter, but a greater mercy to consider God's testimonies, even then when his life was sought for. Had it not been for the consideration of God's testimonies, a thousand to one he had fallen away. Richard Greenham.

Verse 96. I have seem an end of all perfection, etc. These words are variously rendered and understood by interpreters, who in this variety do very much conspire and agree in the same sense. The Chaldee Paraphrase renders the words thus," I have seen an end of all things about which I have employed my care; but thy commandment is very large." The Syriac version thus, "I have seen an end of all regions and countries" (that is, I have found the compass of the habitable world to be finite and limited) "but thy commandment is of a vast extent." Others explain it thus," I have seen an end of all perfection," that is, of all the things of this world which men value and esteem at so high a rate; of all worldly wisdom and knowledge, of wealth, and honour, and greatness, which do all perish and pass away; "but thy law is eternal, and still abideth the same"; or, as the Scripture elsewhere expresses it," The word of the Lord endureth for ever." -- John Tillotson, 1630-1694.

Verse 96. I have seen an end of all perfection. Poor perfection which one sees an end of! Yet such are all those things in this world which pass for perfections. David in his time had seen Goliath, the strongest, overcome; Asahel, the swiftest, overtaken; Ahithophel, the wisest, befooled; Absalom, the fairest, deformed. Matthew Henry.

Verse 96. I have seen an end of all perfection, etc. The Psalmist's words offer us a double comfort and encouragement. We may read them in two ways:

1. "I have seen an end of all perfection; for thy commandment is exceeding broad"; and

2. "I have seen an end of all perfection, but thy commandment is exceeding broad."

Read in the first way, they suggest the animating thought, that our haunting consciousness of imperfection springs from the bright and awful perfection of the Law we are bent on obeying, of the ideal we have set before us. It is not because we are worse than those who are without law, or who are a law unto themselves, that we are restless and dissatisfied with ourselves; but because we measure both ourselves and our fellows by the lofty standard of God's commandment. It is because that commandment is so broad, that we cannot embrace it; it is because it is so high, that we cannot attain to it; it is because it is so perfect, that we cannot perfectly obey it. But we may read the verse in another way, and still derive comfort and encouragement from it. We may say: "I have seen an end of all perfection in myself, and in the world; but thy commandment is exceeding broad: that is perfect, though I am imperfect, and in its perfection I find the promise of my own." For shall God give a law for human life, and that law remain for ever unfulfilled Impossible! "The gifts of God are without repentance" -- irreversible, never to be lessened or withdrawn. His purpose is not to be made of none effect by our weaknesses and sins. In the Law he has shown us what he would have us to be. And shall we never become what lie would have us to be? Can the Law remain for ever without any life that corresponds to it and fulfils it? Nay, God will never take back the fair and perfect ideal of human life depicted in his Law, never retract his purpose to raise the life of man till it touches and fulfils its ideal. And so the very Law which is our despair is our comfort also; for if that be perfect we must become perfect; its perfection is the pledge of ours. From "The Expositor," 1876.

Verse 96. I have seen an end of all perfection. David's natural eye had seen the end of many human perfections, and the eye of his understanding saw the end of them all. He had seen some actually end, and he saw that all must end. Adam did not continue in that perfection which had no imperfection in it; how then shall any of his children continue in what is at best an imperfect perfection? -- Abraham Wright.

Verse 96. I have seen an end, etc. The laws of Lycurgus among the Grecians, and of Numa among the Romans, had somewhat of good in them, but not all; prohibited somewhat that was evil, but not all that was evil. But the Christian religion is of a larger extent, both in its precepts and prohibitions: "I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad." A man with the eye of his body may behold an end of many worldly perfections, of many fair estates, great beauties, large parts, hopeful families; but a man with the eye of his soul (or by faith) may see an end of all earthly perfections. He may see the world in a flame, and all its pomp and pride, and glory, and gallantry, and crowns and sceptres, and riches, and treasures, turned into ashes. He may see the heavens passing away like a scroll, and the elements melting with fervent heat, and the earth, with the things thereon, consumed; and all its perfections, which men dented so much on, vanished into smoke and nothing. It is easy to see to the end of all terrene perfections, but it is difficult, yea, impossible, to see to the end of divine precepts: "But thy commandments are exceeding broad," of a vast latitude, beyond our apprehension. They are so deep that none can fathom them, Ps 36:6, so high that they are established in heaven, Ps 114:48; so long that they endure for ever, 2 Peter 1; and so broad, that none can measure them. They are not only "broad," but "exceeding broad": higher than heaven, longer than the earth, broader than the sea. "The commands of God reach the inward parts, the most secret motions and retired recesses of the soul. They reach all the privy thoughts, they pierce even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and discern the thoughts and intents of the heart, Heb 4:12. They reach to all our actions; to those that seem smallest and of less concernment, as well as to those that are greater and of more concernment." -- George Swinnock.

Verse 96. Thy commandment is exceeding broad. As there is more mercy in the gospel than we are able to comprehend, so there is more holiness in the law than we are able to comprehend. No man ever saw into the depths of that righteousness. There is an infinite holiness in the law. "I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad." He speaks not in the concrete, I have seen an end of perfect things, but in the abstract," an end of perfection," I have come to the outside or to the very bottom of all (a man may soon travel through all the perfections that are in the world, and either see their end, or see that they end); "but thy commandment is exceeding broad," that is, it is exceedingly broader than any of these perfections; I cannot see the end of it, and I know it shall never have an end. There is a vastness of purity and spiritualness in the law. Joseph Caryl.

Verse 96. Thy commandment is exceeding broad. It is so by the comprehensive applicableness of its grand, simple rules. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and soul, and strength, and thy neighbour as thyself." It is so by the ample order of its special injunctions. Where is there a spot without a signal of the divine will? It is so by laying an authoritative hand on the first principles and origin from which any thing can proceed, in human spirit and action; then it reaches to all things that do or can proceed thence. It asserts a jurisdiction over all thought and inward affection. All language is uttered under this same jurisdiction. All that the world and each man is in action about. And even over what is not done it maintains its authority, and pronounces its dictates and judgments. It is a positive thing with respect to what is negative, omission, nonexistence Like the divine government in the material world, over the wastes, deserts, and barren sands. And from these spaces of nothing (as it were) it can raise up substantial forms of evil, of sin, in evidence against men. As at the resurrection men will rise from empty wastes, where it would not have been suspected that any were concealed. Let a man look back on all his omissions, and think what the divine law can raise from them against him. Thus the law in its exceeding breadth, is vacant nowhere; it is not stretched to this wide extent by chasms and void spaces. If a man could find one such, he might there take his position for sin with impunity, if not with innocence. John Foster, 1768-1848.

Verse 96. Thy commandment is exceeding broad. In the popular religious literature of the present times, the terms "broad" and "free" are of frequent occurrence. The fascination that surrounds them is enhanced by the use, at the same time, of their opposites," narrow" and "bigoted." By an adroit manipulation of these terms and their equivalents, the heterodoxy of the day is labouring to stamp out the doctrine and spirit of the evangelical faith, and to allure the Christian multitude within the influence of the spreading rationalistic drift. Going to the market where the heterodox wares are exhibited with labels so attractive, the unsuspecting purchaser soon discovers that "their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter." Is the time not come when the adherents of the true faith should make an effort to wrest from their opponents the monopoly in the use of these terms, which they seem desirous of establishing for themselves? Those who, in the spirit of their Master, abide most closely by, and contend most tenaciously for, the whole faith that has been delivered to the saints, must be the most liberal minded and catholic; and those who forsake the "old paths" must, in proportion to the extent of their departures, become contracted in their mental grasp, and narrow in their soul. Is not the Bible-- the whole Bible -- the only manual of Broad churchism in its truest and highest sense? Is not the revelation of God's Son in us, the great soul expanding power? "If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." Must we not infer, from the words of Christ "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free," that the mind which apprehends the truth is a home of mental liberty? Does not strict conformity of the life to God's law produce real breadth of character? For "Thy commandment is exceeding broad." Is not the gospel system the only true Broad churchism-- "the perfect law of liberty"? Is not the believer-- and the more so in proportion to the strength of his faith -- the only true Broad churchman," increasing with the increase of God," "filled with all the fulness of God"? -- James Kerr, in "The Modern Scottish Pulpit," 1880.

Verse 96. Exceeding broad. Notwithstanding many things do show the way of life to be narrow, yet unto the godly man it is a way of great breadth; though not for sin, yet for duly and delight. He makes haste and progress in it. Robert Trail, 1642-1716.

Verse 96. Take notice that the law, which is your mark, is exceeding broad. And yet not the more easy to be hit; because you must aim to hit it, in every duty of it, with a performance of equal breadth, or else you cannot hit it at all. Stephen Marshall.

Verse 98. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies. Now he praiseth the word for the singular profit and fruit which he reaped by it; to wit, that he learned wisdom by it. And this he amplifies, by comparing himself with three sorts of men; his enemies, his teachers, and the ancients. And this he doth, not of vain glory (for bragging is far from him who is governed by the Spirit of grace); but to commend the word of the Lord, and to allure others to love it, by declaring to them what manifold good he found in it. Wiser than mine enemies. But how can this be, seeing that our Saviour saith that the men of this world are wiser in their own generation than the children of God? The answer is, our Saviour doth not call worldlings wise men simply; but wiser in their own generation; that is, wise in things pertaining to this life. Or as Jeremy calls them," wise to do evil"; and when they have so done, wise to conceal and cloak it. All which in very deed is but folly; and therefore David, who by the light of God's word saw that it was so, could not be moved to follow their course. Well; there is a great controversy between the godly and the wicked: either of them in their judgment accounts the other to be fools; but it is the light of God's word which must decide it. William Cowper.

Verse 98. Wiser than mine enemies. They are wiser than their enemies as to security against their attempts, and that enmity and opposition that they carry on against them; they are far more safe by walking under the convert of God's protection than their enemies can possibly be, who have all manner of worldly advantages. A godly wise man is careful to keep in with God: he is more prepared and furnished, can have a higher hope, more expectation of success, than others have; or, if not, he is well enough provided for, though all things fall out never so cross to his desires. As to success, who hath made wiser provision, think you, he that hath made God his friend, or he that is borne up with worldly props and dependencies? They that are guided by the Spirit of God, or they that are guided by Satan those that make it their business to walk with God step by step, or those that not only forsake him, but provoke him to his face? Those that break with men, and keep in with God, or those that break with God? Surely, a child of God hath more security by piety than his enemies can have by secular policy, whereby they think to overreach and ruin him. The safety of a child of God lieth in two things: 1. God is his friend. 2. As long as God hath work for him to do, he will maintain him, and bear him out in it. Thomas Manton.

Verse 98. They are ever with me. The meaning of the last clause is not merely "it is ever with me, but it is for ever to me," i.e, mine, my inalienable, indefeasible possession. Joseph Addison Alexander.

Verse 98. They are ever with me. God gives knowledge to whom he pleaseth; but those that meditate most, thrive most. This may imply also that the word should be a ready help. Such as derive their wisdom from without cannot have their counsellors always with them to give advice. But, when a man hath gotten the word in his heart, he finds a ready help: he hath a seasonable word to direct him in all difficulties, in all straits, and in all temptations, to teach him what to do against the burden of the present exigence; to teach him what to do and what to hope for. Thomas Manton.

Verse 98. They are ever with me. A good man, wherever he goes, carries his Bible along with him, if not in his hands, yet in his head and in his heart. Matthew Henry.

Verses 98-100. Three sorts of men he mentions," enemies," "teachers," "ancients"; the enemies excel in policy, teachers in doctrine, and ancients in counsel; and yet by the word was David made wiser than all these. Malice sharpens the wit of enemies, and teacheth them the arts of opposition; teachers are furnished with learning because of their office; and ancients grow wise by experience; yet David, by the study of the word, excelled all these. Thomas Manton.

Verse 99. I have more understanding than all my teachers. Even where the preacher is godly, partaker of that grace himself, whereof he is an ambassador to others, it falls out oftentimes that greater measure of light and grace is communicated by his ministry to another than is given to himself; as Augustine first illuminated and converted by Ambrose did far excel, both in knowledge and spiritual grace, him that taught him. And herein God wonderfully shows his glory, that, whosoever be the instrument, he is the dispenser of light and glory, giving more by the instrument than it hath in itself. And this is so far from being to a godly teacher a matter of grief, that it is rather a matter of glory. William Cowper.

Verse 99. I have more understanding than all my teachers. It is no reflection upon my teachers, but rather an honour to them, for me to improve so as to excel them, and no longer to need them. By meditation we preach to ourselves, and so we come to understand more than our teachers, for we come to understand our hearts, which they cannot. Matthew Henry.

Verse 100. I understand...because l keep. Would we know the Lord? Let us keep his commandments. "By thy precepts," saith David, that is, by the observance of thy precepts," I get understanding." "If any man do my will" (saith our blessed Saviour, Joh 7:17)," he shall know my doctrine." boulei yeololov lenesyai? tav entolav fulasse, saith Nazienzen: Wouldst thou be a divine? do the commandments; for action is (as it were) the basis of contemplation. It is St. Gregory's observation concerning the two disciples who, whilst Christ talked with them, knew him not; but in performing an act of hospitality towards him, to wit, breaking bread with him, they knew him, that they were enlightened, not by hearing him, but by doing divine precepts, Quisquis ergo vult audita intelligere; festinet ea quae jam audire potuit, opere implere, Whosoever therefore will understand, let him first make haste to do what he heareth. Nathanael Hardy, 1618-1670.

Verse 100. I understand more than the ancients. The ordinary answer of ignorant people is," What! must we be wiser than our forefathers?" And yet those same people would be richer than their forefathers were. The maximum quod sic of a Christian is this, he must grow in grace, till his head reach up to heaven, till grace is perfected in glory. Christopher Love, 1618-1651.

Verse 100. More than the ancients. Understanding gotten by the precepts of the word is better than understanding gotten by long experience. It is better in four regards. First, It is more exact. Our experience reacheth but to a few things; but the word of God reacheth to all cases that concern true happiness. The word is the result of God's wisdom, who is the Ancient of days; therefore exceeds the wisdom of the ancients, or experience of any men, or all men. Secondly, as it is more exact, so a more sure way of learning wisdom, whereas experience is more uncertain. Many have much experience, yet have not a heart to see and to gather wisdom from what they feel: De 29:2-4. Thirdly, it is a safer and cheaper way of learning, to learn by rule, than to come home by weeping cross, and to learn wisdom by our own smart. Experience is too expensive a way; and, if we had nothing else to guide us, into how many thousand miseries should we run! Fourthly, it is shorter. The way by age and experience is a long way; and so, for a long time, all a man's younger age must needs be miserable and foolish. Now, here you may come betimes to be wise by studying the word of God. It concerns a man, not only to be wise at length, but to be wise betimes. The foolish virgins were wise too late: but never were any wise too soon. Condensed from Thomas Manton.

Verse 100. If this way the Word of God were thus perfect in David's time, what is it by the addition of so many parcels of Scripture since? If it then gave wisdom to the simple (Ps 14:7); if it made David, being brought up but as a shepherd, wiser than his enemies, than his ancients, than his teachers; as an angel of God in discerning right from wrong (1Sa 14:17); able to guide the people by the skilfulness of his hands (Ps 78:72); what kind of wisdom is there, which we may not now gather from thence? What depth of natural philosophy have we in Genesis and Job! What flowers of rhetoric in the prophets! What force of logic in Saint Paul's epistles! what art of poetry in the psalms! What excellent moral precepts, not only for private life, but for the regulation of families and commonwealth in the Proverbs and Ecclesiastes! To which may be added in a second rank as very useful, though apocryphal, the Book of Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus. What reasonable and just laws have we in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, which moved the great Ptolemy to hire the Septuagints to translate them into Greek: what unmatchable antiquity, variety, and wonderful events, and certainty of story, in the books of Moses, Joshua, the Judges, Samuel, the Kings, and Chronicles, together with Ruth and Esther, Ezra and Nehemiah, and, since Christ, in the sacred Gospels and Acts of the Apostles. And, lastly, what profound mysteries have we in the prophecies of Ezekiel and Daniel, and the Revelation of Saint John. But in this it infinitely exceeds the wisdom of all human writings, that it is alone "able to make a man wise unto salvation" (2Ti 3:15). Upon these considerations, Charles the Fifth of France, surnamed The Wise, not only caused the Bible to be translated into French, but was himself very studious in the Holy Scriptures. And Alphonsus, King of Arragon, is said to have read over the whole Bible fourteen several times, with Lyra's notes upon it; though he were otherwise excellently well learned, yet was the law of God his delight," more desired of him than gold, yea, than much fine gold, sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb." -- George Hakewell, 1579-1649.

Verse 101. I have refrained my feet, etc.

1. We have David's practice: "I have refrained my feet from every evil way." 2. His end or motive: "That I might keep thy word; "that he might be exact and punctual with God in a course of obedience.

First, In his practice. You may note the seriousness of it: I have refrained my feet. By the feet are meant the affections: "Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God," Ec 5:1. Our affections which are the rigorous bent of the soul, do engage us to practice; therefore fitly resembled by the feet, by which we walk to any place that we do desire: so that," I have refrained my feet," the meaning is, I keep a close and strict band over my affections, that they might not lead me to sin. Then you may note the extent of it; he doth not only say, I refrained from evil, but universally, "from every evil way." But how could David say this in truth of heart, if conscious of his offence in the matter of Uriah? Answer: This was the usual frame and temper of his soul, and the course of his life; and such kind of assertions concerning the saints are to be interpreted, voce et canatu, licet non semper eventu. This was his errand and drift, his purpose and endeavour, his usual course, though he had his failings.

Secondly, What was his end and motive in this? That I might keep thy word; that I might be exact and punctual with God in a course of obedience, and adhere to his word universally, impartially. Thomas Manton.

Verse 101. I have refrained my feet, etc. Where there is real holiness, there is a holy hatred, detestation, and indignation against all ungodliness and wickedness, and that upon holy accounts:" I have refrained my feet from every evil way." But why? "That I may keep thy word." "Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way; "Ps 119:104. The good that he got by divine precepts stirred up his hatred against every false way: Ps 119:128," Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way." His high esteem of every precept raised up in him a holy indignation against every evil way. A holy man knows that all sin strikes at the holiness of God, the glory of God, the nature of God, the being of God, and the law of God; and therefore his heart rises against all; he looks upon every sin as the Scribes and Pharisees that accused Christ; and as that Judas that betrayed Christ; and as that Pilate that condemned Christ; and as those soldiers that scourged Christ; and as those spears that pierced Christ; and therefore his heart cries out for justice upon all. Thomas Brooks.

Verse 101. Refrained...that I might keep. By doing what is right we come both to know right and to be better able to do it. "Plain Commentary."

Verse 101. I have refrained my feet, etc. The word "refrained" warns us that we are naturally borne by our feet into the path of every kind of sin, and are hurried along it by the rush of human passions, so that even the wise and understanding need to check, recall, and retrace their steps, in order that they may keep God's word, and not become castaways. And further note that the Hebrew verb here translated "refrained" is even stronger in meaning, and denotes "I fettered, or imprisoned, my feet, "whereby we may learn that no light resistance is enough to prevent them from leading us astray. Agellius and Genebrardus, in Neale and Littledale.

Verse 102. By "misphallim"," judgments," is meant God's law; for thereby he will judge the world. And the word "departed not" intimates both his exactness and constancy: his exactness, that he did not go a hair's breadth from his direction; "Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left" (De 5:32); and his constancy is implied in it, for then we are said to depart from God and his law, when we fall off from him in judgment and practice. Jer 32:40. Thomas Manton.

Verse 102. Thou hast taught me. God teacheth two ways: -- 1. By common illumination. 2. By special operation.

1. By common illumination, barely enlightening the mind to know or understand what he propounds by his messengers: so God showed it to the heathen: Ro 1:20. But then, 

2. By way of special operation, effectually inclining the will to embrace and prosecute duties so known: "I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts": Jer 31:33. This way of teaching is always effectual and persuasive. Now, in this sense they are taught of God, so that they do not only get an ear to hear, but a heart to understand, learn, and practise.

This teaching is the ground of constancy, because,

1. They that are thus taught of God see things more clearly than others do; God is the most excellent teacher.

2. They know things more surely, and with certainty of demonstration, whereas others have but dubious conjectures, and loose and wavering opinions about the things of God.

3. This teaching is so efficacious and powerful, as that the effect followeth: "Teach me thy way, O Lord; I Will walk in thy truth" (Ps 86:11).

4.God renews this teaching, and is always at hand to guide us, and give counsel to us, which is the cause of our standing. Thomas Manton.

Verse 102. For thou hast taught me. Lest it should seem that David ascribed the praise of godliness to himself, or that it came from any goodness in him that he did refrain his feet from every evil way, he gives here all the glory to God, protesting, that because God did teach him, therefore he declined not. Wherefrom we learn, that if at any time we stand, or if when we have fallen we rise and repent, it is ever to be imputed to God that teacheth us; for there is no evil so abominable, but it would soon become plausible to us, if God should leave us to ourselves. David was taught by his ordinary teachers, and he did reverence them; but that he profited by them he ascribes unto God. Paul may plant, and Apollos water; God must give the increase. William Cowper.

Verse 103. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Even the words of a fellow creature of earth, how inexpressibly sweet sometimes, how beyond all calculation precious! All gold and silver would be despised in comparison with them. They come freighted with love, and the heart is enriched with them as though the breath of God had come into it. But does not this rainbow of earthly joy die gradually out? Do not the enrapturing words sooner or later become exsiccated in the memory, and may they not meet with contemptuous treatment as reminders of an earthly illusion? Indeed they do; indeed they may. Nevertheless the heart may find its happiness, its true and undying happiness, in words. At this moment there is nothing in the whole world so much to be desired as certain words. Words of love. Words expressive of infinite love. Treasures, pleasures, honours of earth, what are they? My unsatisfied soul cries out, Give me words. Words whereby I may know the love that God has towards me. Words declaring the unchangeable attachment of the Saviour. Words purifying my heart. Emboldening me in prayer. Exhibiting to me the blissful future. Words that shall give life to my dead powers, and change me from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord. George Bowen, in "Daily Meditations," 1873.

Verse 103. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! etc. There is given to the regenerated a new, supernatural sense, a certain divine, spiritual taste. This is in its whole nature diverse from any of the other five senses, and something is perceived by a true saint in the exercise of this new sense of mind, in spiritual and divine things, as entirely different from anything that is perceived in them by natural men, as the sweet taste of honey is diverse from the ideas men get of honey by looking on it or feeling of it. Now the beauty of holiness is that which is perceived by this spiritual sense, so diverse from all that natural men perceive in them; or, this kind of beauty is the quality that is the immediate object of this spiritual sense; this is the sweetness that is the proper object of this spiritual taste. The Scripture often represents the beauty and sweetness of holiness as the grand object of a spiritual taste and a spiritual appetite. This was the sweet food of the holy soul of Jesus Christ, Joh 4:32, 34. "I have meat to eat that ye know not of...My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." I know of no part of the Holy Scriptures where the nature and evidence 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 excellency 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 rejoicing of the gracious nature, which prizes God's commandments above gold, yea, the finest gold, and to which they are sweeter than honey, and the honeycomb; and that upon account of their holiness. The same psalmist declares that this is the sweetness that a spiritual taste relishes in God's law: Ps 19:7-10. Jonathan Edwards, 1703-1758.

Verse 103. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Why does he not rather say, How pleasant are thy words to my ears? than that they are sweet to his taste and his mouth? I answer: It is most meet that when God speaks by the mouth of his ministers we should be hearers, and the words of God should be the most joyous of all to our ears. But it is also the practice of the godly to converse about the words of God, and their words are so sweet to their own taste that they are more pleased and delighted than by any honey from the comb. And this is most necessary when either there is a scarcity of teachers, as with David in the wilderness or dwelling among the Philistines; or when those who hold the office of teaching, adulterate and vitiate the pure word of God. Wolfgang Musculus.

Verse 103. That which is here called "word," I take rather for "judgments," partly because in the proper tongue the word is left out, and partly because he had used this word "judgments" in the verse immediately going before. But some will say, How can the judgments of God be "sweet," which are so troublesome, fearful, and grievous? I answer, that the godly have no greater joy than when they feel either the mercies of God accomplished towards them that fear him, or his judgments showered upon the reprobates. Richard Greenham.

Verse 103. Unto my taste. "To my mouth." That is, I take as great pleasure in talking, conferring, and persuading, thy judgments, as my mouth, or the mouth of any that loveth honey, is delighted therewith. Richard Greenham.

Verse 103. Sweeter. As there are always among violets some that are very much sweeter than others, so among texts there are some that are more precious to us than others. Henry Ward Beecher, 1879.

Verse 103. An affectionate wife often says," My husband! your words are sweeter to me than honey; yes, they are sweeter than the sugar cane." "Alas! my husband is gone," says the widow: "how sweet were his words! Honey dropped from his mouth: his words were ambrosia." -- Joseph Roberts.

Verse 104. Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. In this sentence the prophet seems to invert the order set down in Ps 119:101. He had said," I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word," where the avoiding of evil is made the means of profiting by the word; here his profiting by the word is made the cause of avoiding evil. In the one verse you have an account of his beginning with God; in the other, of his progress. Thomas Manton.

Verse 104. I hate every false way. David saith, "I hate every false way"; I hate not only the way when I have been misled into it, but I hate to go in it; and he professes at the Ps 119:163," I hate and abhor lying, but thy law do I love." To abstain from and forbear lying is a sign of a gracious heart, much more to hate and abhor it. A godly man not only doth that which is good, but he delights to do it, his soul cleaves to it; he is in his clement when he is doing it, nothing comes more suitably to him than the business of his duty, he loveth to do it, yea, he loveth it when he cannot do it: Ro 7:22. Paul complained much that his corruptions clogged, hindered and shackled him; he was in lime twigs as to the doing of good, yet (saith he) "I delight in the law of God after the inward man"; that is, the inward man delightfully moves after the law of God, when I am basely moved by my corrupt heart, and stirred by temptation against it. Now, as a godly man not only chooseth to do the holy will of God, but delights and rejoiceth to do it, and hath sweet content in doing it; so likewise a godly man not only refuseth to do the will of the flesh, or to follow the course of the world, but hates to do it, and is never so discontented with himself as when through carelessness and neglect of his watch he hath been overtaken and hath fallen. A carnal man may forbear the doing of evil, and do what is materially good, but he never abhors what is evil, nor delights in what is good. Though he abstain from acting those things which God forbids, yet he doth not say, with Job," God forbid, I should act them."...To delight in good is better than the doing of it, and to abhor evil is better than abstaining from it. And if we compare the nature of sin with the new nature of a godly man, we may see clear grounds why his abstinence from sin is joined with an abhorrence of it. Joseph Caryl.

Verse 104. Through thy; precepts I get understanding. Spiritual understanding is connected with the taste of spiritual sweetness. (Compare Pr 2:10-11.) "The sweetness of the lips" -- as the wise man observes-- "increaseth learning. The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips." Pr 16:21, 23. Thus having learned "the principles of the doctrine of Christ," we are encouraged to "go on to perfection" -- "growing in grace and in the knowledge of Christ." For the connexion between "grace and knowledge" is clearly manifested. Charles Bridges.

Verse 104. I hate every false way. Universality in this is a sure sign of sincerity. Herod spits out some sins, when he rolls others as sweet morsels in his mouth. A hypocrite ever leaves the devil some nest egg to sit upon, though he take many away. Some men will not buy some commodities, because they cannot have them at their own price, but they lay out the same money on others; so hypocrites forbear some sins, yea, are displeased at them; because they cannot have them without disgrace or disease, or some other disadvantage; but they lay out the same love upon other sins which will suit better with their designs. Some affirm that what the sea loseth in one place it gains in another; so what ground the corruption of the unconverted loseth one way, it gains another. There is in him some one lust especially which is his favourite; some king sin, like Agag, which must be spared when others are destroyed. "In this the Lord be merciful to thy servant," saith Naaman. But now the regenerate laboureth to cleanse himself from all pollutions, both of flesh and spirit. 2Co 7:1. George Swinnock.

Verse 104. I hate. The Scriptures place religion very much in the affection of love; love to God, and the Lord Jesus Christ; love to the people of God, and to mankind. The texts in which this is manifest, both in the Old Testament and the New, are innumerable. The contrary affection of hatred also, as having sin for its object, is spoken of in Scripture as no inconsiderable part of true religion. It is spoken of as that by which true religion may be known and distinguished. Pr 8:13. "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil." Accordingly, the saints are called upon to give evidence of their sincerity by this, Ps 97:10. "Ye that love the Lord, hate evil." And the Psalmist often mentions it as an evidence of his sincerity: Ps 101:2-3," I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside." So Ps 114:128, and the present place. Again, Ps 139:21: "Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee?" -- Jonathan Edwards.

Verse 104. I hate. Hatred is a stabbing, murdering affection, it purposes sin with a hot heart to death, as an avenger of blood, that is to say, of the blood of the soul which sin would spill, and of the blood of Christ which sin hath shed. Hate sin perfectly and perpetually and then you will not spare it but kill it presently. Till sin be hated it cannot be mortified; you will not cry against it, as the Jews did against Christ, Crucify it! Crucify it! but shew indulgence to it as David did to Absalom and say, Deal gently with the young man, -- with this or that lust, for my sake. Mercy to sin is cruelty to the soul. Edward Reyner, 1600-1670.

Verse 104. False way. It is not said," evil way," but "false way": or, as it is in the original, every path of lying and falsehood. Falsehood is either in point of opinion or practice. If you take it in the first sense, for falsehood in opinion, or error in judgment, or false doctrine, or false worship, this sentence holds good. Those that get understanding by the word are established against error, and not only established against error, or against the embracing or possession of it, but they hate it. Thomas Manton.

Verse 104. False way. All sin is a lie. By it we attempt to cheat God. By it we actually cheat our souls: Pr 14:12. There is no delusion like the folly of believing that a course of sin will conduce to our happiness. -- William S. Plumer.

Verse 105. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light, etc. David was a man of very good wit and natural understanding; but he gives to God the glory of his wisdom, and owns that his best light was but darkness when he was not lightened and ruled by the word of God. Oh that we would consider this, that in all our ways wherein the word of God shines not unto us to direct us, we do but walk in darkness, and our ways without it can lead us to none other end but utter darkness. If we hearken not to the word of God, if we walk not by the rule thereof, how is it possible we can come to the face of God? -- William Cowper.

Verse 105. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. The use of a lamp is by night, while the light of the sun shineth by day. Whether it be day or night with us, we clearly understand our duty by the Word of God. The night signifieth adversity, and the day prosperity. Hence we may learn how to behave ourselves in all conditions. The word "path" notes our general choice and course of life; the word "feet" our particular actions. Now whether the matter, wherein we would be informed, concerneth our choice of the way that leadeth to true happiness, or our dexterous prosecution of the way, still the word of God will direct a humble and well disposed mind. Thomas Manton.

Verse 105. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, etc. Basil the Great, interpreting the "word" as God's will revealed in Holy Scripture, observes that the Old Testament, and in especial the Law, was only a lantern (lamp or candle) because an artificial light, imperfectly illumining the darkness, whereas the Gospel, given by the Lord Jesus himself, is a light of the Sun of Righteousness, giving brightness to all things. Ambrose, going yet deeper, tells us that Christ is himself both lamp and light. He, the Word of God, is a great light to some, to others he is a lamp. To me he is a lamp; to angels a light. He was a light to Peter, when the angel stood by him in the prison, and the light shined about him. He was a light to Paul when the light from heaven shined round about him, and he heard Christ saying to him," Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" And Christ is truly a lamp to me when I speak of him with my mouth. He shineth in clay, he shineth in a potter's vessel: he is that treasure which we bear in earthen vessels. Neale and Littledale.

Verse 105. Thy word is a lamp...and a light. Except the "lamp" be lighted-- except the teaching of the Spirit accompany the word-- all is "darkness, gross darkness" still. Did we more habitually malt to receive, and watch to improve, the light of the word, we should not so often complain of the perplexity of our path. Charles Bridges.

Verse 105. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, etc. What we all want, is not to see wonders that daze us, and to be rapt in ecstatic visions and splendours, but a little light on the dark and troubled path we have to tread, a lamp that will burn steadfastly and helpfully over the work we have to do. The stars are infinitely more sublime, meteors infinitely more superb and dazzling; but the lamp shining in a dark place is infinitely closer to our practical needs. From "The Expositor," 1864.

Verse 105. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet. Going two miles into a neighbourhood where very few could read, to spend an evening in reading to a company who were assembled to listen, and about to return by a narrow path through the woods, where paths diverged, I was provided with a torch of light wood, or "pitch pine." I objected; it was too small, weighing not over half a pound. "It will light you home", answered my host. I said," The wind may blow it out." He said," It will light you home." "But if it should rain?" I again objected. "It will light you home," he insisted. Contrary to my fears, it gave abundant light to my path all the way home, furnishing an apt illustration, I often think, of the way in which doubting hearts would be led safely along the "narrow way." If they would take the Bible as their guide, it would be a lamp to their feet, leading to the heavenly home. One man had five objections to the Bible. If he would take it as a lamp to his feet, it would "light him home." Another told me he had two faults to find with the Bible. I answered him in the words of my good friend who furnished the torch," It will light you home." -- From "The American Messenger," 1881.

Verse 105. A lamp unto my feet, etc. All depends on our way of using the lamp. A man tells that when a boy he was proud to carry the lantern for his Sabbath school teacher. The way to their school led through unlit, muddy streets. The boy held the lantern far too high, and both sank in the deep mud. "Ah! you must hold the lamp lower," the teacher exclaimed, as they gained a firm footing on the farther side of the slough. The teacher then beautifully explained our text, and the man declares that he never forgot the lesson of that night. You may easily hold the lamp too high; but you can hardly hold it too low. James Wells, in "Bible Images," 1882.

Verse 105. Light.

Lead, kindly light, amid the encircling gloom
Lead thou me on.
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead thou me on.
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
--John Henry Newman (1801).

Verses 105-106. A light unto my path. I have sworn, and I will perform it, etc. I have looked upon thy word as a lamp to my own feet, as a thing nearly concerning myself, and then I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments. It is a mighty means to stir up a man's spirit, and quicken him to obedience, to look upon the word as written to himself, as a lamp and a light for him. When you come to hear out of God's Word, and God directs the minister so that you apprehend the truth as spoken to you, it will stir and awaken you, and you will say," Oh me thought this day every word the minister spoke was directed to me; I must take heed thereto." And so every word in the Scripture that concerns thee God writes to thee; and if thou wilt take it so, it will be a mighty means to stir thee up to obedience. Jeremiah Burroughs, 1599-1646.

Verse 106. I have sworn, etc. Patrick's paraphrase is, "I have solemnly resolved and bound myself by the most sacred ties, which I will never break, but do now confirm."

Verse 106. I have sworn. I would now urge you to make a solemn surrender of yourself unto the service of God. Do not only form such a purpose in your heart, but expressly declare it in the Divine presence. Such solemnity in the manner of doing it is certainly very reasonable in the nature of things; and sure it is highly expedient, for binding to the Lord such a treacherous heart, as we know our own to be. It will be pleasant to reflect upon it as done at such and such a time, with such and such circumstances of place and method, which may serve to strike the memory and the conscience. The sense of the vows of God which are upon you will strengthen you in an hour of temptation; and the recollection may encourage your humble boldness and freedom in applying to him under the character and relation of your covenant God and Father, as future exigencies may require. Do it therefore, but do it deliberately. Consider what it is that you are to do: and consider how reasonable it is that it should be done, and done cordially and cheerfully," not by constraint, but willingly"; for in this sense, and every other," God loveth a cheerful giver."

Let me remind you that this surrender must be perpetual. You must give yourself up to God in such a manner, as never more to pretend to be your own; for the rights of God are like his nature, eternal and immutable; and with regard to his rational creatures, are the same yesterday, today, and for ever. I would further advise and urge, that this dedication may bc made with all possible solemnity. Do it in express words. And perhaps it may be in many cases most expedient, as many pious divines have recommended, to do it in writing. Set your hand and seal to it," that on such a day of such a month and year, and at such a place, on full consideration and serious reflection, you came to this happy resolution, that whatever others might do, you would serve the Lord." -- Philip Doddridge (1702-1751) in "The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul."

Verse 106. Frequently renew settled and holy resolutions. A soldier un- resolved to fight may easily be defeated. True and sharpened courage treads down those difficulties which would triumph over a cold and wavering spirit. Resolution in a weak man will perform more than strength in a coward. The weakness of our graces, the strength of our temptations, and the diligence of our spiritual enemies, require strong resolutions. We must be "steadfast and unmoveable," and this will make us "abound in the work of the Lord": 1Co 15:58. Abundant exercise in God's work will strengthen the habit of grace, increase our skill in the contest, and make the victory more easy and pleasant to us. Let us frame believing, humble resolutions in the strength of God's grace, with a fear of ourselves, but a confidence in God. David bound himself to God with a hearty vow, depending upon his strength: "I have sworn, and i will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments." This was not in his own strength, for, Ps 119:107, he desires God to quicken him, and to "accept the freewill offerings of his mouth," Ps 119:108, namely, the oath which proceeded from a free and resolved will. God will not slight, but strengthen the affectionate resolutions of his creature. We cannot keep ourselves from falling unless we first keep our resolutions from flagging. Stephen Charnock.

Verse 106. I have sworn, and I will perform it. Theodoricus, Archbishop of Cologne, when the: Emperor Sigismund demanded of him the most direct and most compendious way how to attain true happiness, made answer in brief, thus: "Perform when thou art well what thou promisedst when thou wast sick." David did so; he made vows in war, and paid them in peace; and thus should all good men do; not like the cunning devil, of whom the epigrammatist writeth:

"The devil was sick, the devil a monk would be;
The devil was well, the devil a monk was he."

Nor like unto many now a days, that, if God's hand do but he somewhat heavy upon them, oh, what promises, what engagements are there for amendment of life! How like unto marble against rain do they seem to sweat and melt but still retain their hardness! Let but the rod be taken of their backs, or health restored, then, as their bodies live, their vows die; all is forgotten: nay, many times it so falleth out, that they are far worse than ever they were before. From John Spencer's "Things New and Old," 1658.

Verse 106. Thy righteous judgments. So David styles the word of God, because it judgeth most righteously between right and wrong, truth and falsehood. And, secondly, because according to the judgment given therein, God will act towards men. Let us take heed unto it; for the word contains God's judgment of men and hath a catalogue of such as shall not inherit the kingdom of God, and another of such as shall dwell in God's tabernacle; let us read and see in which of the two catalogues our two selves are; for according to that word will the judgment go. William Cowper.

Verse 107. I am afflicted very much, etc. Whence learn,

1. It is no strange thing for the most holy men to be acquainted with the saddest sort of affliction, bodily and spiritual: "I am afflicted very much."

2. From whence soever affliction doth come, faith goeth to God only for comfort, as here: "Quicken me, O Lord."

3. When God is pleased to make the word of promise lively, or to perform what the promise alloweth us to expect, such a consolation is a sufficient antidote to the heaviest affliction: "Quicken me, O Lord, according unto thy word." -- David Dickson.

Verse 107. I am a afflicted very much. We can recommend so persuasively the cheerful drinking of the cup of sorrow when in the hand of others, but what wry faces we make when it is put into our own. Alfred John Morris, 1814-1869.

Verse 107. I am afflicted... quicken me. The Christian lives in the midst of crosses, as the fish lives in the sea. Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney, 1786-1859.

Verse 107. Quicken me, O Lord. How doth God quicken us? By reviving our suffering graces, such as our hope, patience, and faith. Thus he puts life into us again, that we may go on cheerfully in our service, by infusion of new comforts. He revives the heart of his contrite ones, so the prophet saith (Isa 57:15). This is very necessary, for the Psalmist saith elsewhere," Quicken us, and we will call upon thy name" (Ps 80:18). Discomfort and discouragement weaken our hands in calling upon God. Until the Lord cheers us again we have no life in prayer. By two things especially doth God quicken us in affliction, by reviving our sense of his love, and by reviving our hope of glory. Thomas Manton.

Verse 107. According unto thy word. David goes often over with that phrase, which imports that David lay under the sense of some promise which God had made for the quickening of his heart when it was out of frame, and accordingly he recounts the gracious influences of God's Spirit, and professes that he will never forget his precepts, because by them he had quickened him: Ps 119:93. Thus, lay your dead hearts at Christ's feet, and plead in this manner: Lord, my heart is exceedingly dull and distracted; I feel not those enlarging, melting influences which thy saints have felt; but are they not chief material mercies of the covenant? dost thou not promise a spirit of illumination, conviction, and humiliation? is not holiness of heart and life a main branch of it? dost thou not promise therein to write thy law in my heart? to give me oneness of heart, to put thy fear within me, to subdue my corruptions, to help my infirmities in prayer? Now, Lord, these are the mercies my soul wants and waits for, fill my soul with these animating influences, revive thy work of grace in my soul, draw out my heart towards thee, increase my affection for thee, repair thine image, call forth grace into lively exercise. Doth not that gracious word intend such a mercy when thou sayest thou wilt not only give a new heart, but "put a new spirit within me" (Eze 36:26), to make my soul lively, active, and spiritual in duties and exercises? Dear Lord, am not I in covenant with thee? and are not these covenant mercies? why, then, my God, is my heart thus hardened from thy fear? why dost thou leave me in all this deadness and distraction? Remember thy word unto thy servant in which thou hast caused me to hope, and which thou hast helped me to plead; O quicken my dull heart according to thy word. Oliver Heywood.

Verse 107. According unto thy word. David, when he begs for quickening, he is encouraged so to do by a promise. The question is, where this promise should be? Some think it was that general promise of the law, if thou do these things, thou shalt live in them (Le 18:5), and that from thence David drew this particular conclusion, that God would give life to his people. But rather, it was some other promise, some word of God he had, to bear him out in this request. The Lord has made many promises to us of sanctifying our affliction. The fruit of all shall be the taking away of sin (Isa 27:9); of bettering and improving us by it (Heb 4:10), of moderating our affliction, that he will stay his rough wind in the day of the east wind (Isa 27:8); that he will lay no more upon us than he will enable us to bear (1Co 10:13). He hath promised he will moderate our affliction, so that we shall not be tempted above our strength. He hath promised he will deliver us from it, that the rod of the wicked shall not always rest on the lot of the righteous (Ps 125:3); that he will be with us in it, and never fail us (Heb 13:5). Now, I argue thus: if the people of God could stay their hearts upon God's word, when they had but such obscure hints to work upon that we do not know where the promise lies, ah! how should our hearts be stayed upon God, when we have so many promises! When the Scriptures are enlarged for the comfort and enlarging of our faith, surely we should say now as Paul, when he got a word," I believed God" (Ac 27:25); I may expect God will do thus for me, when his word speaks it everywhere. Thomas Manton.

Verse 108. The freewill offerings of the mouth, may be the offerings which the mouth had promised and vowed. And who can lay claim to these as the Lord? His are all things. John Stephen.

Verse 108. The freewill offerings of my mouth. This place makes known that species of sacrifices, which neither tribulations nor poverty of means can hinder, and which does not require an external temple, but in desert places and among heathen may be offered by a godly man. And these sacrifices of the mouth God himself makes more of than if all the flocks of the whole earth had been offered to him, and all the treasures of gold, and of silver, and of precious stones. Wolfgang Musculus.

Verse 108. Freewill offerings. This expression is often used in the law (Le 22:18 Nu 29:39 1Ch 31:14 Am 1:4-5). What are these freewill offerings? They are distinguished from God's stated worship, and distinguished from that service which fell under a vow. Besides the stated peace offerings, there were certain sacrifices performed upon certain occasions, to testify God's general goodness, and upon receipt of some special mercy; and you will find these sacrifices to be expressly distinguished from such services as men bound themselves to by vow (Le 7:16). . . . These serve to teach us two things.

First. They are to teach us how ready we should be to take all occasions of thankfulness and spiritual worship; for, besides their vowed services and instituted sacrifices, they had their freewill offerings, offered to God in thankfulness for some special blessing received, or for deliverance from danger.

Secondly. It shows with what voluntariness and cheerfulness we should go about God's worship in the Gospel, and what a free disposition of heart there should be, and edge upon our affections, in all things that we offer to God; in this latter sense our offerings to God-- prayer and praise should be freewill offerings, come from us not like water out of a still forced by the fire, but like water out of a fountain with native freeness, readily and freely. -- Thomas Manton.

Verse 108. Offerings. All God's people are made priests unto God; for every offering supposes a priest: so it is said, that Christ Jesus hath made us kings and priests (Re 1:6). All Christians have a communion with Christ in all his offices, whatever Christ was, that certainly they are in some measure and degree. Thomas Manton.

Verse 108. Accept...the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord. It is a great grace that the Lord should accept anything from us, if we consider these three things: First, who the Lord is; next, what we are; thirdly, what it is we have to give unto him.

1. As for the Lord, he is all sufficient, and stands in need of nothing we can give him. Our goodness extends not to the Lord

2. As for us, we are poor creatures, living by his liberality; yea, begging from all the rest of his creatures; from the sun and moon; from the air, the water, and the earth; from fowls and fishes; yea, from the worms: some give us light, some meat, some clothes; and are such beggars as we meet to give to a king?

3. And, thirdly, if we well consider, What is it that we give? Have we anything to give but that which we have received from him? and whereof we may say with David," O Lord, all things are of thee, and of thine own have we given thee again" (1Ch 29:14). Let this humble us, and restrain us from that vain conceit of meriting at God's hand.

David at this time, in his great necessity, having no other sacrifice to offer unto the Lord, offers him the calves of his lips; but no doubt, when he might, he offered more. There is nothing so small, but if it come from a good heart, God will accept it: the widow's mite, a cup of cold water; yea, and the praise of our lips, although it has no other external oblation joined with it: but where men may do more, and will not, it is an argument that their heart is not sincerely affected toward him, and their praises are not welcome to him. William Cowper.

Verse 108. Accept...the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord, and teach me thy judgments. Two things we are here taught to pray for in reference to our religious performances.

1. Acceptance of them: this we must aim at in all we do in religion, that whether present or absent we may be accepted of the Lord. That which David here earnestly prays for the acceptance of is "the freewill offerings," not of his purse, but of his "mouth," his prayers and praises; "the calves of our lips" (Ho 14:2); "the fruit of our lips" (Heb 13:15); these are the spiritual offerings which all Christians, as spiritual priests, must offer to God; and they must be "freewill offerings; "for we must offer them abundantly and cheerfully; and it is this willing mind that is accepted. The more there is of freeness and willingness in the service of God, the more pleasing it is to him.

2. Assistance in them: "Teach me thy judgments." We cannot offer any thing to God which we have reason to think he will accept of, but what he is pleased to instruct us in the doing of; and we must be as earnest for the grace of God in us as for the favour of God toward us. Matthew Henry.

Verse 108. Teach me thy judgments. As if the man of God should say, This is one thing whereunto I will give over myself, even to see how thou dost punish the wicked, and conduct thy children. So that we must learn, that as it is necessary to understand the law and the gospel, so is it requisite to discern God's judgments. For as we cannot learn the one without observing God's mercy; so we cannot attain to the other without marking his vengeance. We must see always by the peculiar teaching of God's Spirit, how the Lord punishes in justice, and yet in mercy; in wrath, and yet in love; in rigour and hatred of our sin, humbling us with one hand; in pity and compassion to our salvation, comforting us with the other hand. We see then how the prophet prayeth, both to see them and to mark them: we need teach this often, because we dream so much of fatal necessity, and of the connections of natural causes, or else because we call not discern between the crosses of the godly and the ungodly. This is then a singular gift of God, to discern how by the self same means the Lord both humbleth the good and overthroweth the wicked. Richard Greenham.

Verse 109. My soul is continually in my hand. He had his soul in his hand, ready to give whenever God should take it. And this is to be observed, that there is no trouble so ready to take away the life of God's children, as they are ready to give it. As Elijah came out to the mouth of his cave to meet with the Lord; and Abraham in the door of his tent to speak to the angel; so the soul of the godly stands ready in the door of the tabernacle of this body to remove when the Lord shall command it; whereas the soul of the wicked lies back, hiding itself, as Adam among the bushes, and is taken out of the body perforce; as was the soul of that worldling; "This night thy soul shall be required of thee; "but they never sacrifice their souls willingly to the Lord. William Cowper.

Verse 109. My soul is continually it, my hand. If any one carry in the hand a fragile vessel, made of glass or any other similar material, filled with a precious liquor, especially if the hand be weak, or if from other causes dangers be threatening, he will scarcely be able to avoid the breaking of the vessel and the running out of the liquor. Such is the condition of my life, which I, set upon by various enemies, carry as it were in my hand; which, therefore, is exposed to such great danger, as that I always have death present before my sight, my life hanging on the slenderest thread. Andreas Rivetus, 1572-1651.

Verse 109. My soul is continually in my hand. The believer is always in the very jaws of death. He lives with wings outstretched to fly away. Paul testified," I die daily." In the extremity of persecution, the fervent desire was to know what God would have him to do. Henry Law.

Verse 109. My soul is continually in my hand. I make no more of life than a child doth of his bird which he carrieth in the palm of his hand held open. John Trapp.

Verse 109. My soul is continually in my hand, etc. Why doth David say," My soul is in mine hand"; had he called it out of the hand of God, and taken the care of it upon himself? Nothing less. His meaning is only this, -- I walk in the midst of dangers and among a thousand deaths continually; I am in deaths often, my life is exposed to perils every day, yet do I not forget thy law: I keep close to thee, and will keep close to thee whatsoever comes of it. Augustine upon that place doth ingeniously confess that he understood not what David meant, by having his soul in his hands; but Jerome, another of the ancients, teacheth us, that it is an Hebraism, signifying a state of most extreme peril. The Greeks also have drawn it into a proverb speaking the same thing. But why doth the holding or putting the life in the hand signify the exposing of the life to peril? There is a twofold reason of it.

First. Because those things which are carried openly in the hand are apt to fall out of the hand, and being carried in sight, they are apt to be snatched or wrested out of the hand. And, therefore, though to be in the hand of God signifies safety, because his hand is armed with irresistible power to protect us; yet for a man to carry a thing in his own hand is to carry it in danger, because his hand is weak, and there are safer ways of carrying or conveying a thing than openly in the hand. If a man be to ride a long journey with any treasure about him, he doth not carry it in his hand, but puts it in some secret and close place where it may be hidden, and so be more secure. The Chaldee paraphrast, to express the elegancy of that place forecited out of the Psalm, gives it thus," My life is in as much danger as if it stood upon the very superficies or outside of my hand," as if he had no hold of it, but it stood barely upon his hand; for that which is set upon the palm of the hand, and not grasped, is in greater danger. Things safe kept are hidden or held fast.

Secondly. There is another reason of that speech, because when a man is about to deliver a thing or to give it up, he takes it in his hand. They that put themselves upon great perils and dangers for God and his people, deliver up their lives and their all to God. Hence that counsel of the Apostle (1Pe 4:19): "Let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator." So here, the life of men in danger is said to be put in the hand, because such are, as it were, ready to deliver and commit their lives unto God, that he would take care of their lives to preserve them from the danger, or to take them to himself if they lose them in his service. Joseph Caryl.

Verse 110. The wicked. He calls them wicked men; which imports three things. First, they work wickedness. Secondly, they love it. Thirdly, they persevere in it. William Cowper.

Verse 110. A snare. One manner of catching wild animals, such as lions, bears, jackals, foxes, hart, roebuck, and fallow deer, was by a trap (paeh), which is the word used in this place; this was set under ground (Job 18:10), in the run of the animal (Pr 22:5), and caught it by the leg (Job 18:9). William Latham Bevan, in Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, 1863.

Verse 110. The wicked have laid a snare for me. In eating, he sets before us gluttony; in love he impels to lust; in labour, sluggishness; in conversing, envy; in governing, covetousness; in correcting, anger; in honour, pride; in the heart, he sets evil thoughts; in the mouth evil words; in actions, evil works; when awake, he moves us to evil actions; when asleep, to filthy dreams. Girolamo Savonarola, 1452-1498.

Verse 110. Laid a snare for me: yet I erred not, etc. It is not the laying the bait hurts the fish, if the fish do not bite. Thomas Watson.

Verse 111. Thy testimonies have I taken, etc. The Scripture is called "testimonies" in respect to God himself, because it doth give a testimony to him, and makes God known to us: it gives a testimony of all those attributes that are himself, of his wisdom, of his power, of his justice, of his goodness, of his truth. The declaration of these, we have them all in the various books of the Scriptures: there is never a book, but there is a testification of these attributes. In the book of Genesis we have a testimony of his power in making the world, of his justice in drowning the world, and of his goodness in saving Noah. In the book of Exodus, we have a testimony of his providence in leading the people of Israel through the Red Sea, in bringing them out of Egypt; we have a testimony of his wisdom in giving them his law. What should I name more? In the New Testament, in the Gospel, all is testimony. As the Old gave testimony to God, so the New to Christ: "To him gave all the prophets witness"; not only the Old, but the New: "These are they that testify of me." Everywhere there is testimony of Christ, -- of his humility, in taking our nature; of his power, in working miracles; of his wisdom, in the parables that he spoke; of his patience and love, in the torments that he suffered for us. Both Law and Gospel-- the whole book of Scripture, and every part of it in these regards is fitly called "the testimonies of the Lord." And the holy Psalmist made choice of this name when he was to speak to the honour and glory of it; because it was that name from which he sucked a great deal of comfort, because it was the testimony of God's truth and goodness and wisdom and power to him; thereupon he makes so precious esteem of it as to account it his "heritage." -- Richard Holdsworth (1590-1649), in "The Valley of Vision."

Verse 111. Thy testimonies. By "testimonies" is meant the covenant between God and his people; wherein he bindeth himself to them, and them to him. Some think that the excellency of the word is here set out by many names; but we must look to the propriety of every word: as before by "judgments, "so by this word "testimonies," is meant the covenant: not the commandments, because they cannot be an inheritance, for they cannot comfort us, because we cannot fulfil them, but fail in them, and cannot therefore take comfort in them. It is the gospel that bringeth peace and comfort. "The law," when it is taken generally, containeth all the word, particularly the commandments; so "the word" generally containeth both law and gospel, but particularly the promises, as Rom. 10. So likewise by the "testimonies," when they are opposed to the law, is meant the promises of the covenant, as Isaiah 8, and this testimony is confirmed to us by the sacraments, as to them by sacrifices. Richard Greenham.

Verse 111. As an heritage. Why the divine testimonies should be called by the Psalmist an inheritance; why he brings them within the compass of this notion, may not So easily be understood; for the word of God points out the inheritance, but it is not the inheritance itself. Yes, there is good reason to be given for the expression, were there no more than this, that we consider the inestimable comfort, and heavenly treasure that is to be found in the word of God; it is a rich mine of all celestial treasure, it is a storehouse of all good things, of all saving knowledge. All privileges whatsoever they are that we can expect on earth or heaven, they are all contained in the word of God: here is ground enough why it is called an inheritance; he hath a good heritage that hath all these.

Yet there is a better reason than this; for if it be so that heaven is our inheritance, then the word of God is; because it is the word that points out heaven, that gives the assurance of heaven: we have in the word of God all the evidences of heaven. Whatsoever title any saint hath to heaven, he hath it in and out of the word of God. There are the evidences in the word of God; both the evidence of discovery, it is the holy terrier of the celestial Canaan, and the evidence of assurance, it is as a sacred bond or indenture between God and his creature. St. Gregory said wittily, when he called it God's epistle that he sent to man for the declaration of his will and pleasure, he might as well have called it God's deed of gift, whereby he makes over and conveys to us all those hopes that we look for in heaven. Whatsoever interest we have in God, in Christ, whatsoever hope of bliss and glory, whatsoever comfort of the Spirit, whatsoever proportion of grace, all are made over to us in the promises of the gospel, in the word of God.

Now put this together, look as in human affairs, evidences, though they be not properly the inheritance itself, yet they are called the inheritance, and are the inheritance, though not actually, yet virtually so; because all the title we have to an inheritance is in the deeds and evidences; therefore evidences are precious things. Though it be but a piece of paper, or parchment full of dust and worm eaten, yet it is as much worth sometimes as a county, as much worth as all a man's possessions besides. So likewise it is with the Scriptures; they are not actually and properly the inheritance itself, but they are via, the way to the kingdom. It is called the gospel of the kingdom, nay more, the kingdom itself: "The kingdom of God is come among you," or "to you". Why the kingdom? Why the inheritance? By the same reason, both, because here we have the conveyance, here we have the deed, here we have the assurance of whatsoever title or claim we make to heaven. Richard Holdsworth.

Verse 111. They are the rejoicing of my heart. He saith not that God's testimonies bring joy, but that they are joy; there is no other joy but the delight in the law of the Lord. For all other joy, the wise king said of laughter," thou art mad," and of joy," what is it that thou dost?" Ecclesiates 6. True joy is the earnest which we have of heaven, it is the treasure of the soul, and therefore should be laid up in a safe place; and nothing in this world is safe to place it in. And therefore with the spouse we say," We will be glad in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine." Let others seek their joy in wine, in society, in conversation, in music; for me, thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. These indeed are the precious fruits of the earth, but they seal not up special favour; a man may have together with them, an empty, husky, and chaffy soul. And therefore these are not the joys of the saints; they must have God, or else they die for sorrow; his law is their life. Abraham Wright.

Verse 112. I have inclined my heart to perform thy statutes alway, etc. In the former verse he showed his faith, and his joy which came thereof; now he showeth that here in this joy he will keep the commandments; whereby he showeth that this was a true joy, because it wrought a care to do good. For if we believe the promises truly, then we also love the commandments, otherwise faith is vain; a care to live a godly life nourisheth faith in God's promises. Here is the cause then why many regard not the word and sacraments; or if they do a little, it is to no purpose, because they labour not to keep the commandments. For unless they have care to do this, the word of God to them cannot be profitable, nor the sacraments sacred. Richard Greenham.

Verse 112. I have inclined my heart to perform, etc. Observe. In Ps 119:36 he prayed to God, saying," Incline my heart unto thy testimonies." And here he speaks about himself, saying," I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway even unto the end." What need, then, was there to ask from God that which he in another place glories to have done himself? I answer: These things are not contrary the one to the other. God inclines, and the godly man inclines. Man inclines by striving; God inclines by effecting. Neither is that which the man attempts, nor that which he by striving achieves goodwards, from the man, but from God, who gives," both to will and to do of His good pleasure:" Php 2:13. Wolfgang Musculus.

Verse 112. The sinful heart of itself will run any way; upon earthly things, upon evil things, or upon impertinent and unseasonable things; but it will not come to or keep upon that which it should mind; therefore it must be taken as by strong hand, and set upon spiritual things, set on musing and meditation of heavenly things. A carnal heart is like the loadstone, it cleaves to nothing but steel or iron, and both of them easily unite: but the heart must be of another property, and act in a higher way. And a good heart, though it thinks too much earthward, and runs often wrong, yet it will set itself in its thinking on right objects, and make itself and them to meet and unite. David tells us how he did; he inclined his heart to God's commandments, both to keep them and to meditate on them. He took and bent his heart, as a thing bending too much to other things; set his mind on musing on it. He found his heart and the law of God too far asunder, and so would continue, unless he brought them together and made them one. If he had not brought his heart to the word, he had never meditated: the object cannot apply itself to the mind, but the mind must bring itself to the object. No holy duties will come to us, we must come to them. Nathanael Ranew, in "Solitude Improved by Divine Meditation," 1670.

Verse 112. I have inclined mine heart to perform, etc. In this work he was determined to continue.

1. "I have inclined my heart." The counsel of the soul is like a balance; and the mind, which hath the commanding power over the affections, inclines the balance to that which it judges best.

2. It was to perform it that he thus inclined his heart.

3. And this not for a time, or some particular occasion, but always, and unto the end. Then the end of life would be the beginning of glory. -- Adam Clarke.

Verse 112. I have inclined my heart. The prophet, in order briefly to define what it is to serve God, asserts that he applied not only his hands, eyes, or feet, to the keeping of the law, but that he began with the affection of the heart. John Calvin.

Verse 112. Unto the end. Our life on earth is a race; in vain begins he to run swiftly, that fainteth, and gives over before he come to the end. And this was signified (saith Gregory) when in the law the tail of the beast was sacrificed with the rest: perseverance crowneth all. It is good we have begun to do well; let us also strive to persevere to the end. William Cowper.

Verses 112-113. When David had an inclination in his heart to God's statutes, the immediate effect of it was to "hate vain thoughts." We read," I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes"; and it follows," I hate vain thoughts." The vanity of his heart was a burden to him. A new creature is as careful against wickedness in the head or heart, as in the life. A godly man would be purer in the sight of God than in the view of man. He knows none but God can see the wanderings of his heart or the thoughts of his head, yet he is as careful that sins should not rise up as that they should not break out. Stephen Charnock.

Verse 113. I hate vain thoughts or, the evil devices; or, the double hearted imaginations; or, the intermeddling, counter coursing thoughts: that is to say, that kind of practice of some men, that sail with every wind, and seek still to have two strings to their bow. The Hebrew word doth properly signify boughs Or branches, which shoot up perplexedly or confusedly in a tree. Theodore Haak, 1618-1657.

Verse 113. I hate vain thoughts. In those vacant hours which are spared from business, pleasure, company, and sleep, and which are spent in solitude, at home or abroad; unprofitable, proud, covetous, sensual, envious, or malicious imaginations, occupy the minds of ungodly men, and often infect their very dreams. These are not only sinful in themselves, indicating the state of their hearts, and as such will be brought into the account at the day of judgment; but they excite the dormant corruptions, and lead to more open and gross violations of the holy law. The carnal mind welcomes and delights to dwell upon these congenial imaginations, and to solace itself by ideal indulgences, when opportunity of other gratification is not presented, or when a man dares not commit the actual transgression. But the spiritual mind recoils at them; such thoughts will intrude from time to time, but they are unwelcome and distressing, and are immediately thrust out; while other subjects, from the word of God, are stored up in readiness to occupy the mind more profitably and pleasantly during the hours of leisure and retirement. There is no better test of our true character, than the habitual effect of "vain thoughts" upon our minds-- whether we love and indulge them, or abhor, and watch and pray against them. Thomas Scott, 1747-1821.

Verse 113. I hate vain thoughts, A godly man may have roving thoughts in duty. Sad experience proves this; the thoughts will be dancing up and down in prayer. The saints are called stars; but many times in duty they are wandering stars. The heart is like quicksilver which will not fix. It is hard to tie two good thoughts together; we cannot lock our hearts so close, but that distracting thoughts, like wind, will get in. Hierom complains of himself; "Sometimes," saith he," when I am about God's service, I am walking in the galleries, or casting up accounts." But these wandering thoughts are not allowed: "I hate vain thoughts," they come as unwelcome guests, which are no sooner spied, but turned out of doors. Thomas Watson.

Verse 113. I hate. Every dislike of evil is not sufficient; but perfect hatred is required of us against all sorts and degrees of sin. David Dickson.

Verse 113. Vain thoughts. The word is used for the opinions of men; and may be applied to all heterodox opinions, human doctrines, damnable heresies; such as are inconsistent with the perfections of God, derogate from his grace, and from the son and offices of Christ; and are contrary to the word, and which are therefore rejected and abhorred by good men. -- John Gill.

Verse 113. Vain thoughts. Hebrew," sedphim", halting between two opinions. See 1Ki 18:21. Hence it signifies sceptical doubts. Christopher Wordsworth.

Verse 113. Vain thoughts. Our thoughts are set upon trifles and frivolous things, neither tending to our own profit nor the benefit of others: "The heart of the wicked is little worth; "all their debates, conceits, musings, are of no value: for all their thoughts are taken up about childish vanity and foolish conceits. "The thought of foolishness is sin" (Pr 24:9); not only the thought of wickedness, but foolishness. Thoughts are the firstborn of the soul, the immediate issues of the mind; yet we lavish them away upon every trifle. Follow men all the day long, and take account of their thoughts. Oh! what madness and folly are in all the musings they are conscious of: "The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity" (Ps 94:11). If we did judge as God judges, all the thoughts, reasonings, discourses of the mind, if they were set down in a table, we might write at the bottom, Here is the sum and total account of all, -- nothing but vanity. The sins that do most usually engross and take up our thoughts are,

First. Uncleanness. Speculative wickedness makes way for active: "Hath committed adultery...in his heart" (Mt 5:28). There is a polluting ourselves by our thoughts, and this sin usually works that way.

Secondly. Revenge. Liquors are soured when long kept; so, when we dwell upon discontents, they turn to revenge. Purposes of revenge are most sweet and pleasant to carnal nature: "Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually" (Pr 6:14), that is to say, he is full of revengeful and spiteful thoughts.

Thirdly. Envy. It is a sin that feeds upon the mind. Those songs of the women, that Saul had slain his thousands, but David his ten thousands, they ran in Saul's mind, therefore he hated David (1Sa 18:9). Envy is an evil disease that dwelleth in the heart, and betrays itself mostly in thoughts.

Fourthly. Pride. Either pride in the desires or pride in the mind, either vain glory or self conceit; this is entertaining our hearts with whispers of vanity: therefore it is said," He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts" (Lu 1:51): proud men are full of imaginations.

Fifthly. Covetousness, which is nothing but vain musings and exercises of the heart: "A heart they have exercised with covetous practices" (2Pe 2:14). And it withdraws the heart in the very time of God's worship: "Their heart goeth after their covetousness" (Eze 33:31).

Sixthly. Distrust is another thing which usually takes up our thoughts -- distracting motions against God's providence. Thomas Manton.

Verse 113. Vain thoughts. Let us see what vanity is. Take it in all the acceptances of it, it is true of our thoughts that they are "vain."

1. It is taken for unprofitableness. So, Ec 1:2-3," All is vain," because there is "no profit in them under the sun." Such are our thoughts by nature; the wisest of them will not stand us in any stead in time of need, in time of temptation, distress of conscience, day of death or judgment: 1Co 2:6," All the wisdom of the wise comes to nought"; Pr 10:20. "The heart of the wicked is little worth," not a penny for them all.

2. Vanity is taken for lightness. "Lighter than vanity, "is a phrase used, Ps 62:9; and whom is it spoken of? Of men; and if anything in them be lighter than other, it is their thoughts, which swim in the uppermost parts, float at the top, are as the scum of the heart. When all the best, and wisest, and deepest, and solidest thoughts in Belshazzar, a prince, were weighed, they were found too light, Da 5:27.

3. Vanity is put for folly. So, Pr 12:11," vain men" is made all one with men "void of understanding." Such are our thoughts. Among other evils which are said to "come out of the heart" (Mr 7:22), afrosunh is reckoned as one, "foolishness"; that is, thoughts that are such as madmen have, and fools-- nothing to the purpose, of which there can be made no use.

4. Vanity is put for inconstancy and frailty; therefore vanity and a shadow are made synonymous, Ps 144:4. Such are our thoughts, flitting and perishing, as bubbles: Ps 144:4," All their thoughts perish."

5. Lastly, they are wicked and sinful. Vanity is Jer 4:14 yoked with wickedness, and vain men and sons of Belial are all one, 2Ch 8:7. And such are our thoughts by nature: Pr 14:9, "The thought of foolishness is sin." And therefore a man is to be humbled for a proud thought. Thomas Goodwin.

Verse 113. But thy law do I love Ballast your heart with a love to God. Love will, by a pleasing violence bind down our thoughts: if it doth not establish our minds, they will be like a cork, which, with a light breath, and a short curl of water, shall be tossed up and down from its station. Scholars that love learning will be continually hammering upon some notion or other which may further their progress, and as greedily clasp it as the iron will its beloved loadstone. He that is "winged with a divine love" to Christ will have frequent glances and flights toward him, and will start out from his worldly business several times in a day to give him a visit. Love, in the very working, is a settling grace; it increaseth our delight in God, partly by the sight of his amiableness, which is cleared to us in the very act of loving; and partly by the recompences he gives to the affectionate carriage of his creature; both which will prevent the heart's giving entertainment to such loose companions as evil thoughts. Stephen Charnock.

Verses 113-114. When David was able to vouch his love to the command, he did not question his title to the promise. Here he asserts his sincere affection to the precepts: "I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love." Mark he doth not say he is free from vain thoughts, but he "hates" them, he likes their company no better than one would a pack of thieves that break into his house. Neither saith he that he fully kept the law, but he "loved" the law even when he failed of exact obedience to it. Now from this testimony his conscience brought in for his love to the law, his faith acts clearly and strongly on the promise in the next words, "Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word." -- William Gurnall.

Verse 114. Thou art my hiding place and my shield, etc. From vain thoughts and vain persons the Psalmist teaches us to fly, by prayer, to God, as our Refuge and Protector. This course a believer will as naturally take, in the hour of temptation and danger, as the offspring of the hen, on perceiving a bird of prey hovering over their heads, retire to their "hiding place," under the wings of the dam; or as the warrior opposeth his "shield" to the darts which are aimed at him. George Horne.

Verse 114. Thou art my hiding place. Christ hath all qualifications that may fit him for this work of being a hiding place to believers].

1. He hath strength. A hiding place must be locus munitissimus. Paper houses will never be good hiding places. Houses made of reeds or rotten timber will not be fit places for men to hide themselves in. Jesus Christ is a place of strength. He is the Rock of Ages: His name is "the Mighty God," Isa 9:6.

2. He hath height. A hiding place must be locus excelsissimus. Your low houses are soon scaled. Jesus Christ is a high place; he is as high as heaven. He is the Jacob's ladder that reacheth from earth to heaven: Ge 28:12. He is too high for men, too high for devils; no creature can scale these high walls.

3. He hath secret places. A hiding place must be locus abditissimus. The more secret, the more safe. Now, Jesus Christ hath many secret chambers that no creatures can ever find: So 2:14," O my dove, that art in the secret places of the stairs." As Christ hath hidden comforts which no man knows but he that receiveth them; so he hath hidden places of secrecy which none can find out but he that dwells in them. "Come, my people, outer into thy chambers, and shut the doors upon thee" (Isa 26:0).

4. Christ is faithful. He that will hide others had need be very faithful. A false hearted protector is worse than an open pursuer. "Will the men of Keilah deliver me up?" saith David; "They will deliver thee up, "saith the Lord. But now Christ is faithful: Re 3:14, he is "the faithful witness; "he cannot be bribed to surrender up any creature that comes to hide himself with him. Christ will die before he will betray his trust.

5. Christ is diligent. Diligence is as necessary in those that will hide others, as faithfulness. A sleepy guard may betray a castle or garrison as well as a faithless guard. But Jesus Christ is very diligent and watchful, he hath his intelligencers abroad; yea, his own eyes run to and fro in the earth, to see what contrivances are made and set on foot against those who are hid with him: Ps 121:3-4," He that keepeth Israel neither slumbereth nor sleepeth." -- Ralph Robinson (1614-1655), in "Christ All in All."

Verse 114. Hiding place. The first word in the verse means properly a secret, or a secret place. Joseph Addison Alexander.

Verse 114. My shield. Good people are safe under God's protection; he is their "strength and their shield"; their "help and their shield"; their "sun and their shield"; their "shield and their great reward"; and here, their "hiding place and their shield" -- Matthew Henry.

Verse 114. Shield. The excellency and properties of a shield lie in these things: -- 1. In the largeness and breadth of it, in that it hides and covers the person that weareth it from all darts that are flung at him, so as they cannot reach him: Thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield (Ps 5:12). 2. The excellence of a shield lies in that it is hard and impenetrable. So this answers to the invincible power of God's providence, by which he can break the assaults of all enemies; and such a shield is God.to his people: "My shield, and he in whom I trust" (Ps 144:2). 3. Shall I add one thing more? Stones and darts flung upon a hard shield are beaten back upon him that flings them; so God beats back the evil upon his enemies and the enemies of his people: "Bring them down, O Lord, our shield" (Ps 59:11). Thomas Manton.

Verse 114. I hope in thy word. Of all the ingredients that sweeten the cup of human life, there is none more rich or powerful than hope. Its absence embitters the sweetest lot; its presence alleviates the deepest woe. Surround me with all the joys which memory can awaken or possession bestow, -- without hope it is not enough. In the absence of hope there is sadness in past and present joys-- sadness in the thought that the past is past, and that the present is passing too. But though you strip me of all the joys the past or the present can confer, if the morrow shineth bright with hope, I am glad amid my woe. Of all the busy motives that stir this teeming earth, hope is the busiest. It is the sweetest balm that soothes our sorrows, the brightest beam that gilds our pleasures. Hope is the noblest offspring, the first born, the last buried child of foreseeing and forecasting man. Without it the unthinking cattle may be content amid present plenty. But without it reflecting man should not, cannot be truly happy. William Grant (1814-1876), in "Christ our Hope, and other Sermons"

Verses 114-115. Thou art my hiding place. "Depart from me, ye evil doers." Safe and quiet in his hiding place, David deprecates all attempts to disturb his peace. The society, therefore, of the ungodly is intolerable to him, and he cannot forbear frowning them from his presence. He had found them to be opposed to his best interests; and he feared their influence in shaking his determination of obedience to his God. Indeed, when have the Lord's people failed to experience such society to be a prevailing hindrance alike to the enjoyment and to the service of God? -- Charles Bridges.

Verse 115. Depart from me, ye evil doers, etc. As if he had said, talk no more of it, save your breath, I am resolved on my course, I have sworn, and am steadfastly purposed to keep the commandments of my God; with God's help, there will I hold me, and all the world shall not wrest me from it. -- Robert Sanderson, 1587-1663.

Verse 115. Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity, etc. It is common to sin for company, and that cup usually goeth round, and is handed from one to another. It is therefore wise to quit the company which is infected by sin. It can bring thee no benefit. At least evil company will abate the good in thee. The herb of grace will never thrive in such a cold soil. How poorly doth the good corn grow which is compassed about with weeds! Cordials and restoratives will do little good to the natural body, whilst it aboundeth with ill humours. Ordinances are little effectual to souls which are distempered with such noxious inmates. It is said of the mountain Kadish, that whatsoever vine be planted near it, it causeth it to wither and die: it is exceeding rare for saints to thrive near such pull backs. It is difficult, even to a miracle, to keep God's commandments and evil company too; therefore when David would marry himself to God's commands, to love them, and live with them, for better for worse, all his days, he is forced to give a bill of divorce to wicked companions, knowing that otherwise the match could never be made: "Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity, for I will keep the commandments of my God." As if he had said, Be it known unto you, O sinners, that I am striking a hearty covenant with God's commands; I like them so well, that I am resolved to give myself up to them, and to please them well in all things, which I can never do unless ye depart; ye are like a strumpet, which will steal away the love from the true wife. I cannot, as I ought, obey my God's precepts, whilst ye abide in my presence; therefore depart from me, ye workers of iniquity, for I will keep the commandments of my God. George Swinnock.

Verse 115. Depart from me, ye evil doers. Woe be to the wicked man, and woe to those who adhere to him and associate with him, saith Ben Sira. And even the pagans of old thought that a curse went along with those who kept evil company. To inhabit, or to travel with an impious man, and one not beloved of the gods, was held by them to be unlucky and unfortunate.

Vetabo qui Cercris sacrum
Vulgavit, sub isdem
Sit trabibus, fragilemque mecuin
Solvat phaselum,
as Horace speaks.
They who mysteries reveal
Beneath my roof shall never live,
Shall never hoist with me the doubtful sail.

To dwell under the same roof, or to sail in the same yacht or pleasure boat with profane persons was deemed unsafe and dangerous by men of Pagan principles. How much more, then, ought Christians to be thoroughly persuaded of the mischief and danger of conversing with wicked men? It can no ways be safe to hold correspondence with them. Yea, we are in great danger all the while we are with them. You have heard, I suppose, who it was that would not stay in the bath so long as an arch heretic was there. It was St. John the Evangelist; he would not (as Iranaeus acquaints us) remain in that place because Cerinthus, who denied the divinity of Christ, was then present there. That holy man thought no place was safe where such persons are. Therefore be mindful of the Apostle's exhortation, and "Come out from among them" (2Co 6:17); listen to that voice from heaven: "Come out, that ye be not partakers of their sins, and that ye receive not of their plagues." Separate yourselves from them lest you not only in damage your souls, but your bodies, lest some remarkable judgment arrest you here, and lest the divine vengeance more furiously assault you hereafter. The fanciful poets tell us that Theseus and Perithous (a pair of intimate friends) loved one another so well that they went down to hell together. I am sure it is no poetical fiction that many do thus; that is to say, that they perish together, and descend into the bottomless pit for company's sake. John Edwards (1637-1716), in "Theologia Reformata."

Verse 115. Depart from them that depart from God. T. Manton.

Verse 115. Of my God. As a man can esteem of anything which he knows is his own; so if once he know that God is his, he cannot but love him, and carefully obey him: neither is it possible that any man can give to God hearty and permanent service, who is not persuaded to say with David, He is my God. All the pleasures, all the terrors of the world cannot sunder that soul from God, who can truly say, The Lord is my God. W. Cowper.

Verse 116. Uphold me. A kite soaring on high is in a situation quite foreign to its nature; as much as the soul of man is when raised above this lower world to high and heavenly pursuits. A person at a distance sees not how it is kept in its exalted situation: he sees not the wind that blows it, nor the hand that holds it, nor the string by whose instrumentality it is held. But all of these powers are necessary to its preservation in that preternatural state. If the wind were to sink it would fall. It has nothing whatever in itself to uphold itself; it has the same tendency to gravitate towards the earth that it ever had; and if left for a moment to itself it would fall. Thus it is with the soul of every true believer. It has been raised by the Spirit of God to a new, a preternatural, a heavenly state; and in that state it is at held by an invisible and Almighty hand, through the medium of faith. And upheld it shall be, but not by any lower in itself. If left for a moment it would fall as much as ever. Its whole strength is in God alone; and its whole security is in the unchangeableness of his nature, and in the efficacy of his grace. In a word, "It is kept by the power of Gad, through faith, unto salvation." -- From "The Book of Illustrations," by H. G. Salter, 1840.

Verse 116. That I may live. The life of a Christian stands in this, to have his soul quickened by the spirit of grace. For as the presence of the soul quickens the body, and the departure thereof brings instant death; and the body without it is but a dead lump of clay: so it is the presence of God's Spirit which giveth life to the soul of man. And this life is known by these two notable effects; for first, it brings a joyful sense of God's mercy; and next, a spiritual disposition to spiritual exercises. And without this, pretend a man what he will, he is but the image of a Christian, looking somewhat like him, but not quickened by his life. William Cowper.

Verse 116. That I may live. The children of God think they have no life if they live not in God's life. For if we think we are alive, because we see, so do the brute beasts; if we think we are alive because we hear, so do the cattle; if we think we are alive because we eat and drink, or sleep, so do beasts; if we think we live because we do reason and confer, so do the heathen. The life of God's children is the death of sin; for where sin is alive, there that part is dead unto God...God's children, finding themselves dull and slow to good things, when they cannot either rejoice in the promises of God, or find their inward man delighted with the law of God, think themselves to be dead. Richard Greenham.

Verse 117. Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe. Not only the consciousness of my weakness, but the danger of the slippery path before me, reminds me, that the safety of every moment depends upon the upholding power of my faithful God. The ways of temptation are so many and imperceptible-- the influence of it so appalling-- the entrance into it so deceitful, so specious, so insensible-- and my own weakness and unwatchfulness are so unspeakable-- that I can do nothing but go on my way, praying at every step," Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe." -- Charles Ridges.

Verse 117. Hold thou me up. Three things made David afraid. First, great temptation without; for from every air the wind of temptation blows upon a Christian. Secondly, great corruption within. Thirdly, examples of other worthy men that had fallen before him, and are written for us: not that we should learn to fall, but to fear lest we fall. These three should always hold us humble, according to that warning," Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." -- William Cowper.

Verse 117. Up, up above the littleness in which I have lived too long, -- above the snares which have so often caught me, -- above the stumbling blocks upon which I have so often fallen, -- above the world, -- above myself, -- higher than I have ever reached yet, -- above the level of my own mortality: worthy of thee, -- worthy of the blood, with which I have been bought, -- nearer to heaven, -- nearer to thee, -- "hold thou me up." God's methods of holding his people up are many. Sometimes it is by the preacher's word, when the word comes fitly spoken to the heart and conscience. May God, in his infinite condescension, enable his servants in this church so to hold you up. Sometimes it is by the ordained means and sacraments which his grace commanded. Sometimes it is by the efficacy of the Holy Scriptures, when some passage in your own room strikes the mind, Just in season; or the stay of some sweet promise comes in sustaining to your spirit. Sometimes by the simple in working of the Holy Ghost in a man's own thoughts, as he will work "Uphold me with thy free Spirit." Sometimes by the ministration of angels, -- "They shall hold thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone." Sometimes by putting you very low indeed, making you feel that the safe place is the valley. There is no elevation like the elevation of abasement. Sometimes by severe discipline to brace up the heart, and strengthen it, and make it independent of external things. Sometimes by heavy affliction, which is the grasp of his hand, that he may hold you tighter. Sometimes by putting into your heart to think the exact thing that you need, -- to pray the very prayer which he intends at the moment to grant. Sometimes by appearing to let you go, and forsake you, while at the same time-- like the Syro Phoenician woman-- he is giving you the wish to hold on that he may give you the more at the last. James Vaughan, of Brighton, 1877.

Verse 117. I will have respect unto that statutes continually. I will employ myself, so some; I will delight myself, so others; in thy statutes. If God's right hand uphold us, we must in his strength go on in our duty, both with diligence and With pleasure. Matthew Henry.

Verse 118. Thou hast trodden down, etc. David here, by a new meditation, confirms himself in the course of godliness: for considering the judgments of God, executed according to his word in all ages upon the wicked, he resolves so much the more to fear God and keep his testimonies. Thus the judgments of God, executed on others, should be awe bands to keep us from sinning after their similitude. The Lord in chastising his own children takes them in hand like a father to correct them; but when his wrath is kindled against the wicked he tramples them under his feet, as vile creatures which are no account with him. William Cowper.

Verse 118. Thou hast trodden down. The Septuagint, ebouoenwsav, ad nihil deduxisti;thou hast brought to nothing; Aquila, confixisti, thou hast stricken through: Symmachus, aphlebav, reprobasti, thou hast disproved; the Vulgate sprevisti, thou hast contemned; Apollinarius, aferibav, parvi pependisti, thou hast little esteemed: all to the same purpose. The phrase of treading tinder foot, used by us, implies, 1. A full punishment; 2. A disgraceful one.

1. A full punishment. God will pull them down from their altitudes, even to the dust, though never so high and proudly exalting themselves against God. A full conquest of enemies is thus often expressed in Scripture. The Assyrian is said "to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets" (Isa 5:6).

2. It implies a disgraceful punishment: "Until I make thine enemies thy footstool" (Ps 105:1); an expression used to show the ignominy and contempt God will put upon them. Thus Sapores, the king of Persia, trampled upon Valentinian the emperor, and Tamerlane made Bajazet his footstool. The meaning is, God will not only bring them under, but reduce them to an abject mid contemptible condition. So Chrysostom on the text expounds this phrase, that God will make them eponeiooistouv kai katalelastouv, ignominious and contemptible. They shall not go off honourably, but with scorn and confusion of face, miserably broken. Thomas Manton.

Verse 118. Thou hast trodden down, etc. There is a disposition to merge all the characteristics of the Divinity into one; and while with many of our most eminent writers, the exuberant goodness, the soft and yielding benignity, the mercy that overlooks and makes liberal allowance for the infirmities of human weakness, have been fondly and most abundantly dwelt upon-- there has been what the French would call, if not a studied, at least an actually observed reticence, on the subject of his truth and purity and his hatred of moral evil. There can be no government without a law; and the question is little entertained-- how are the violations of that law to be disposed of? Every law has its sanctions-- the hopes of proffered reward on the one hand, the fears of threatened vengeance on the other. Is the vengeance to be threatened only, but never to be executed? Is guilt only to be dealt with by proclamations that go before, but never by punishments that are to follow?...Take away from jurisprudence its penalties, or, what were still worse, let the penalties only be denounced but never exacted; and we reduce the whole to an unsubstantial mockery. The fabric of moral government falls to pieces; and, instead of a great presiding authority in the universe, we have a subverted throne and a degraded Sovereign...If there is only to be the parade of a judicial economy, without any of its power or its performance; if the truth is only to be kept in the promises of reward, but as constantly to be receded from in the threats of vengeance; if the judge is thus to be lost in the overweening parent -- there is positively nothing of a moral government over us but the name, we are not the subjects of God's authority; we are the fondlings of his regard. Under a system like this, the whole universe would drift, as it were, into a state of anarchy; and, in the uproar of this wild misrule, the King who sitteth on high would lose his hold on the creation that he had formed. Thomas Chalmers.

Verse 118. For their deceit is falsehood. The true sense of the passage is," for their cunning hath been fallacious," that is, it hath deceived them themselves and brought on their ruin. Samuel Horsley, 1733-1806.

Verse 118. Their deceit is falsehood. He means not here of that deceit whereby the wicked deceive others, but that whereby they deceive themselves. And this is two fold: first, in that they look for a good in sin, which sin deceitfully promises, but they shall never find. Next, that they flatter themselves with a vain conceit to escape judgment, which shall assuredly overtake them. William Cowper.

Verse 119. Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross. The godly and the wicked live together in the visible church, as dross and good metal; but God, who is the purger of his church, will not fail by diversity of trials and judgments to put difference between them, and at last will make a perfect separation of them, and cast away the wicked as refuse. David Dickson.

Verse 119. God's judgments upon others may be a necessary act of love to us. They are purged out as "dross," that they may not infect us by their example, or molest us by their persecutions or oppressions. Now, the more we are befriended in this kind, the more we are bound to serve God cheerfully: "That we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life": Lu 1:74-75. The world is one of those enemies, or the wicked of the earth; therefore we should serve him faithfully. Thomas Manton.

Verse 119. Thou puttest away all the wicked. Many ways are wicked men taken away; sometime by the hand of other men, sometime by their own hand. The Philistines slew not Saul, but forced him to slay himself; yet the eye of faith ever looks to the finger of God, and sees that the fall of the wicked is the work of God. William Cowper.

Verse 119. The wicked of the earth. Why are they thus characterized? Because here they flourish; their names "shall be written in the earth" (Jer 17:13); they grow great and of good reckoning and account here. Judas had the bag; they prosper in the world: "Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world" (Ps 73:12). Here they are respected: "They are of the world, therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them" (1Jo 4:5). Their hearts and minds are in the world (Mt 6:19-20). It is their natural frame to be worldly, they only savour the things of the world; preferment, honour, greatness, it is their unum magnum; here is their pleasure, and here is their portion, their hope, and their happiness. A child of God looketh for another inheritance, immortal and undefiled. Thomas Manton.

Verse 119. Like dross. The men of this world esteem God's children as the offscourings of the earth; so Paul (a chosen vessel of God) was disesteemed of men; but ye see here what the wicked are, in God's account, but dross indeed, which is the refuse of gold or silver. Let this confirm the godly against the contempt of men: only the Lord hath in his own hand the balance which weigheth men according as they are. William Cowper.

Verse 119. Dross.

1. The dross obscures the lustre and glory of the metal, yea, covers it up, so that it appears not; rust and filth compass and hide the gold, so that neither the nature nor lustre of it can be seen.

2. Dross is a deceiving thing. It is like metal, but is not metal; the dross of silver is like it, and so the dross of gold is like gold, but the dross is neither silver nor gold.

3. Dross is not bettered by the fire: put it into the fire time after time, it abides so still.

4. Dross is a worthless thing. It is of no value-- base, vile, contemptible.

5. It is useless, and to be rejected.

6. Dross is an offensive thing: rust eats into the metal, endangers it, and makes the goldsmith to kindle the fire, to separate it from the gold and silver. -- Condensed from William Greenhill.

Verse 119. Thy testimonies. So, very frequently, he calleth God's word, wherein there are both commands and promises: the commandments of God appertain to all, his testimonies belong to his children only; whereby more strictly, I understand his promises containing special declarations of his love and favour toward his own in Christ Jesus. William Cowper.

The fifteenth letter, SAMECH, denotes a prop or pillar, and this agrees well with the subject matter of the strophe, in which God is twice implored to uphold his servant (Ps 119:16-17), while the utter destruction of those who make light of his law, or encourage scepticism regarding it, may be compared to the fate of the Philistine lords, on whom Samson brought down the roof of the house where they were making merry, by overthrowing the pillars which supported it. Neale and Littledale.

Verse 120. My flesh trembleth for fear of thee. Instead of exulting over those who fell under God's displeasure he humbleth himself. What we read and hear of the judgments of God upon wicked people should make us (1) To reverence his terrible majesty, and to stand in awe of him. Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God? 1Sa 6:20. (2) To fear lest we offend him, and become obnoxious to his wrath. Good men have need to be restrained from sin by the terrors of the Lord; especially when judgment begins at the house of God, and hypocrites are discovered, and put away as dross. Matthew Henry.

Verse 120. My flesh trembleth for fear of thee, etc. At the presence of Jehovah, when he appeareth in judgment, the earth trembleth and is still. His best servants are not exempted from an awful dread, upon such occasions; scenes of this kind, shown in vision to the prophets, cause their flesh to quiver, and all their bones to shake. Encompassed with a frail body, and a sinful world, we stand in need of every possible tie; and the affections both of fear and love must be employed, to restrain us from transgression; we must, at the same time," love God's testimonies, and fear his Judgments." -- George Horne.

Verse 120. My flesh trembleth for fear of thee, etc. In prayer, in the evening I had such near and terrific views of God's judgments upon sinners in hell, that my flesh trembled for fear of them...I flew trembling to Jesus Christ as if the flames were taking hold of me: Oh! Christ will indeed save me or else I perish. Henry Martyn, 1781-1812.

Verse 120. My flesh trembleth for fear of thee. Familiarity with men breeds contempt; familiarity with God, not so: none reverence the Lord more than they who know him best and are most familiar with him. William Cowper.

Verses 120, 116. My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; I am Afraid....let me not be ashamed of my hope. True religion consists in a proper mixture of fear of God, and of hope in his mercy; and wherever either of these is entirely wanting, there can be no true religion. God has joined these things, and we ought by no means to put them asunder. He cannot take pleasure in those who fear him with a slavish fear, without hoping in his mercy, because they seem to consider him as a cruel and tyrannical being, who has no mercy or goodness in his nature; and, besides, they implicitly charge him with falsehood, by refusing to believe and hope in his invitations and offers of mercy. On the other hand, he cannot be pleased with those who pretend to hope in his mercy without fearing him; for they insult him by supposing that there is nothing in him which ought to be feared; and, in addition to this, they make him a liar, by disbelieving his awful threatenings denounced against sinners, and call in question his authority, by refusing to obey him. Those only who both fear him and hope in his mercy, give him the honour that is due to his name. Edward Payson.

Verse 120. Trembles or shudders, strictly used of the hair as standing erect in terror (comp. Job 4:15). J.J. Stewart Perowne.

Verse 121. This commences a new division of the Psalm indicated by the Hebrew letter Ain-- a letter which cannot well be represented in the English alphabet, as there is, in fact, no letter in our language exactly corresponding with it. It would be best represented probably by what are called "breathings" in Greek. Albert Barnes.

Verse 121. I have done judgment against the wicked, "and justice" towards the good. Simon de Muis, 1587-1644.

Verse 121. I have done judgment and justice. -- Here the view of David in his judicial capacity might present itself to us; and if so, we have David in the midst of large experience; for the words would take in a large portion of his life. How blessed were their reflections, if, after a long reign, all sovereign rulers could thus appeal unto God. It should be so; for to him all shall be accountable at last. Even although we only conceive of David as speaking in the character of a private man, the sentiment is worthy of all consideration... For parents to say this of their dealings with their children, masters of servants, a man of his neighbours, is very excellent. John Stephen.

Verse 121. Judgment and "justice," are often put in Scripture for the same, and when put together, the latter is as an epithet to the former. "I have done judgment and justice," that is, I have done judgment justly, exactly, to a hair. Joseph Caryl.

Verse 121.

Do right and be a king,
Be this thy brazen bulwark of defence,
Still to preserve thy conscious innocence,
Nor ever turn pale with guilt.
--Francis's Horace.

Verse 121. If our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence before God: 1Jo 3:21. This "testimony of conscience" has often been "the rejoicing" of the Lord's people, when suffering under unmerited reproach or "proud oppression." They have been enabled to plead it without offence in the presence of their holy, heart searching God; nay, even when, in the near prospect of the great and final account, they might well have been supposed to shrink from the strict and unerring scrutiny of their Omniscient Judge. Perhaps, however, we are not sufficiently aware of the importance of moral integrity in connexion with our spiritual comfort. Mark the boldness which it gave David in prayer: "I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors." -- Charles Bridges.

Verse 121. Leave me not to mine oppressors. That is, maintain me against those who would wrong me, because I do right; interpose thyself between me and my enemies, as if thou wert my pledge. Impartial justice upon oppressors sometimes lays judges open to oppression; but yet they who run greatest hazards in zeal for God shall find God ready to be their surety, when they pray," be surety for thy servant," as in the next verse. Abraham Wright.

Verses 121-122. I have done judgment and justice; but, that I may always do it, and never fail in doing it, "uphold thy servant unto good," by directing him, so that he may always relish what is good, and then the consequence will be that "the proud will not calumniate me; "for he that is well established "unto good," and so made up that nothing but what is good and righteous will be agreeable to him, he will so persevere that he will have no reason for fearing "the proud that calumniate him." -- Robert Bellarmine.

Verse 122. Be surety for thy servant for good. What David prays to God to be for him, that Christ is for all his people: Heb 7:22. He drew nigh to God, struck hands with him, gave his word and bond to pay the debts of his people; put himself in their law place and stead, and became responsible to law and justice for them; engaged to make satisfaction for their sins, to bring in everlasting righteousness for their justification, and to preserve and keep them, and bring them safe to eternal glory and happiness; and this was being a surety for them for good. John Gill.

Verse 122. Be surety for thy servant for good. There are three expositions of this clause, as noting the end, the cause, the event.

1. Undertake for me, ut sire bonus et justus, so Rabbi Arama on the place; surety for me that I may be good. Theodoret expounds it, "Undertake that I shall make good my resolution of keeping thy law." He that joins, undertakes; though we have precepts and without God's undertaking we shall never be able to perform our duty.

2. Undertake for me to help me in doing good; so some read it: would not take his part in an evil cause. To commend a wrong to God's protection, is to provoke him to hasten our punishment, to us serve under our oppressors; but, when we have a good cause, and good conscience, he will own us. We cannot expect he should maintain us and bear us out in the Devil's service, wherein we have entangled selves by our own sin.

3. Be with me for good: so it is often rendered: "Shew me a token for good" (Ps 86:17); "Pray not for this people for good" (Jer 11:14); so, "Remember me, O my God, for good" (Ne 13:31). So here "Be surety for thy servant for good." -- Thomas Manton.

Verse 122. Be surety for thy servant for good. It is the prayer Hezekiah in his trouble, "O Lord, I am oppressed," undertake for, (Isa 38:14); it is the prayer of Job for a "daysman" to between him and God (Job 9:33); it is the cry of the church before Incarnation for the appearance of a Divine Mediator; it is the confidence of every faithful soul since that blessed time in the perpetual of our Great High Priest in heaven, which is to us the pledge of blessedness. Agellius and Cocceius, in Neale and Littledale.

Verse 122. Be surety for thy servant for good. His meaning is, thou knowest how unjustly I am calumniated and evil spoken of in parts: where I am not present or where I may not answer for myself, answer thou for me. -- William Cowper.

Verse 122. Be surety for thy servant for good. The keen eye of world may possibly not be able to affix any blot upon my outward confession; but, "if thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities; O Lord, who shall stand?" The debt is continually accumulating, and the prospect of payment as distant as ever. I might well expect to be "left to my oppressors," I should pay all that was due unto my Lord. But behold! "Where is the fury of the oppressor?" Isa 51:13. The surety is found-- the debt is paid-- the ransom is accepted-- the sinner is free. There was a voice heard heaven-- "Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom", Job 33:24. The Son of God himself became Surety for a stranger, and "smarted for it," Pr 11:15. At an infinite cost-- the cost of his precious blood-- he delivered me from "mine oppressors" -- sin-- Satan world-- death-- hell. Charles Bridges.

Verse 122. Some observe that this is the only verse throughout the whole psalm wherein the Word is not mentioned under the name of "law "judgments," "statutes," or the like terms, and they make this note it, -- "Where the Law faileth, there Christ is a surety of a better testament. There are those that render the words thus, -- "Dulcify, or, delight thy servant good," that is, make him joyful and comfortable in the pursuit and of that which is good. John Trapp.

Verse 123. Mine eyes fail flor thy salvation. In times of great sorrow when the heart is oppressed with care, and when danger threatens on every side, the human eye expresses with amazing accuracy the distressed and anguished emotions of the soul. The posture here described is that of an individual who perceives himself surrounded with enemies of the most formidable character, who feels his own weakness and insufficiency to enter into conflict with them, but who is eagerly looking for the arrival of a devoted and powerful friend who has promised to succour him in the hour of his calamity. As his friend delays the hour of his coming, his fears and anxieties multiply, till he finds himself in the condition of one whose eyes fail and grow dim in looking for the approach of his great deliverer. In this condition was the suppliant here described, -- his enemies were ready to swallow him up, and except from heaven he had no hope of final extrication. To the promises of God he betook himself, and while waiting their accomplishment, and looking with the utmost eagerness to the word of God's righteousness, he gives utterance to the desponding sentiment," Mine eyes fail for thy salvation." O for such warm and anxious desires for that great salvation, which will realize the victory over all our spiritual enemies, and enable us to shout triumphantly through all eternity in the name of our almighty Deliverer! -- John Morison.

Verse 123. Mine eyes fail...for the word of thy righteousness. Albeit the words of promise be neither performed, nor like to be performed, yet faith should justify the promise, for true and faithful. David Dickson.

Verse 123. For the word of thy righteousness. This would be the word of promised salvation, which the Lord had given in righteousness. What an amazing plea-- God on the ground of his own righteousness appealed to for deliverance-- and yet how true! Or this might be the word of his justice, the issuing of justice, the exercising of a righteous decision between him and his oppressors. He had looked for the Lord to interpose between them, and so to fulfil all he had promised on behalf of the believer. The Lord will vindicate his own. Are any in great difficulty; and are they waiting for the Lord to interpose, to whom they have committed their concerns? ...Wait on; he will not disappoint a gracious hope. John Stephen.

Verse 123. For the word of thy righteousness, or," the word of thy justice"; that is to say, for the sentence of justice on my oppressors, as the first part of the verse teaches; for the passing this sentence will be equivalent to the granting the salvation which the psalmist so earnestly desired. George Phillips.

Verse 124. Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy. If I am a "servant" of God, I can bring my services before him only upon the ground of "mercy"; feeling that for my best performances I need an immeasurable world of mercy-- pardoning-- saving-- everlasting mercy; and yet I am emboldened by the blood of Jesus to plead for my soul-- "Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy." But then I am ignorant as well as guilty; and yet I dare not pray for divine teaching, much and hourly as I need it, until I have afresh obtained mercy. "Mercy" is the first blessing, not only in point of importance, but in point of order. I must seek the Lord, and know him as a Saviour, before I can go to him with any confidence to be my teacher. But when once I have found acceptance to my petition-- "Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy" -- my way will be opened to follow on my petition-- "Teach me thy statutes. Give me understanding, that if may know thy testimonies" -- that I may know, walk, yea, "run in the way of thy commandments" with an enlarged heart, Ps 119:32. My plea is the same as I have before urged with acceptance (Ps 119:94) -- "I am thy servant." -- Charles Bridges.

Verse 124. Thy mercy. All the year round, every hour of every day, God is richly blessing us; both when we sleep and when we wake, his mercy waits upon us. The sun may leave off shining, but our God will never cease to cheer his children with his love. Like a river, his lovingkindness is always flowing with a fulness inexhaustible as his own nature, which is its source. Like the atmosphere which always surrounds the earth, and is always ready to support the life of man, the benevolence of God surrounds all his creatures; in it, as in their element, they live, and move, and have their being. Yet as the sun on summer days appears to gladden us with beams more warm and bright than at other times, and as rivers are at certain seasons swollen with the rain, and as the atmosphere itself on occasions is fraught with more fresh, more bracing, or more balmy influences than heretofore, so is it with the mercy of God; it hath its golden hours, its days of overflow, when the Lord magnifies his grace and lifteth high his love before the sons of men. C.H.S.

Verse 124. Teach me. David had Nathan and Gad the prophets; and beside them, the ordinary Levites to teach him. He read the word of God diligently, and did meditate in the law night and day; but he acknowledgeth all this was nothing unless God did teach him. Other teachers speak to the ear, but God speaks to the heart: so Paul preached to Lydia, but God opened her heart. Let us pray for this grace. William Cowper.

Verse 125. I am thy servant; give me understanding, etc. I am not a stranger to thee, but thine own domestic servant; let me want no grace, which may enable me to serve thee. William Cowper.

Verse 125. I am thy servant. That thou art the servant of God, thou shouldest regard as thy chiefest glory and blessedness. Martin Geier.

Verse 126. It is time for thee, Lord, to work. Was ever vessel more hopelessly becalmed in mid ocean? or did crew ever cry with more frenzy for some favouring breeze than those should cry who man the Church of the living God? If God work not, it is certain there is nothing before the Church but the prospect of utter discomfiture and overthrow. Greater is the world than the Church if God be not in her. But if God be in her, she shall not be moved. May he help her, and that right early! When he arises to work we know not what may be the form and fashion of his operations. He worketh according to the counsel of his own will; and who knows but that when once he awakes, and puts on his strength, it may not be confined in its results to the immediate and exclusive quickening of the spiritual life of the Church; but may be associated with providential upheavals and convulsions which will fill the heart of the world with astonishment and dismay. His spiritual kingdom does not stand in isolation. It has relations which closely involve it with the material universe, and with human society and national life. There have been times when God has worked, and the signs of his presence have been seen, in terrible shaking of the nations, in the ploughing up from their foundations of hoary injustice, in the smiting of grinding tyrannies, and in the emancipation of peoples whose life had been a long and hopeless moan. There have been times, too, and many, when he has worked through the elements of nature-- through blasting and mildew, through floods and famine, through locust, caterpillar and palmer worm; through flagging commerce, with its machinery rusting in the mill and its ships rotting in the harbour. All these things are his servants. Sometimes the sleep of the world, and the Church too, is so profound that it can be broken only by agencies like the wind, or fire, or earthquake, which made the prophet shiver at the mouth of the cave, and without which the voice that followed, so still, so small and tender, would have lost much of its melting and subduing power. When society has become drugged with the Circean cup of worldliness, and the voices that come from eternity are unheeded, if not unheard, even terror has its merciful mission. The frivolous and superficial hearts of men have to be made serious, their idols have to be broken, their nests have to be stoned, or tossed from the trees where they had been made with so much care, and they have to be taught that if this life be all, it is but a phantom and a mockery. When the day of the Lord shall come, in which he shall begin to work, let us not marvel if it "shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low; and upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day." But this working of God will also take other shapes. Will it not be seen in the inspiration of the Church with faith in its own creed, so far as that creed has the warrant of the Divine word? Does the Church believe its creed? It writes it, sets it forth, sings it, defends it; but does it believe it, at least with a faith which begets either enthusiasm in itself, or respect from the world? Have not the truths which form the methodized symbols of the Church become propositions instead of living powers? Do they not lie embalmed with superstitious reverence in the ark of tradition, tenderly cherished for what they have been and done But is it not forgotten that if they be truths they are not dead and cannot die? They are true now, or they were never true; living now, or they never lived. Time cannot touch them, nor human opinion, nor the Church's sluggishness or unbelief, for they are emanations from the Divine essence, instinct with his own undecaying life. They are not machinery which may become antiquated and obsolete and displaced by better inventions; they are not methods of policy framed for conditions which are transient, and vanishing with them; they are not scaffolding within which other and higher truth is to be reared from age to age. They are like him who is the end of our conversation," Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and for ever." There is not one of them which, if the faith it awakens were but commensurate with its intrinsic worth, would not clothe the Church with a new and wondrous power. But what would be that power if that faith were to grasp them all? It would be life from the dead. Enoch Mellor (1823-1881), in "The Hem of Christ's Garment, and other Sermons."

Verse 126. It is time for thee, Lord, to work. expresses emphatically the proper time for the Lord to do his own work; as if the Psalmist had said," It is not for us to prescribe the time and occasion for God to exercise his power, and to vindicate the authority of his own law; he does everything at the proper time, and he will at the proper season punish those who have made void his law, and who have become notorious for their impiety and wickedness." -- George Phillips.

Verse 126. It is time to work, just as when the attack of some illness is becoming more severe, you hurry to the physician, that he may come more quickly, lest he should later be unable to do any good. So when the prophet saw in the Holy Spirit the rebellion of the people, their luxury, pleasures, deceits, frauds, avarice, drunkenness, he runs, for our help, to Christ, whom he knew to be alone able to remedy such sins; implores him to come, and admits of no delay. Ambrose, in Neale and Littledale.

Verse 126. It is time for thee, Lord, to work. -- Infidelity was never more subtle, more hurtful, more plausible, perhaps more successful, than in the day in which we live. It has left the low grounds of vulgarity and coarseness and ribaldry, and entrenched itself upon the lofty heights of criticism, philology, and even science itself. It pervades to a fearful extent our popular literature; it has invested itself with the charms of poetry, to throw its spell over the public mind; it has endeavoured to inweave itself with science; and he must be little acquainted with the state of opinion in this land, who does not know that it is espoused by a large portion of the cultivated mind of this generation. "It is time for thee, Lord, to work." -- John Angell James, 1785-1859.

Verse 126. It is time for thee, Lord, to work, etc. To send the Messiah, to work righteousness, to fulfil the law and vindicate the honour of it, broken by men. It was always a notion of the Jews that the time of the Messiah's coming would be when it was a time of great wickedness in the earth; and which seems to agree with the word of God, and was true in fact. See Mt 2:17 3:1-3,15-16 4:2. John Gill.

Verse 126. It is time for thee, Lord, to work, etc. True it is, Lord, that we are not to appoint thee thy times and limits, for thou art the Ancient of Days, Time's Creator and destination. Neither do we presume to press in at the portal of thy privy chamber, to "know the times and seasons" which thou our Father hast reserved in thine own power; yet, Lord, thou hast taught us, as to discern the face of the sky, so to descry the signs of the times, and from the cause to expect the effect which necessarily doth ensue. "Thou art a God full of compassion and mercy, slow to anger, and of great kindness" (Ps 103:8); and thou dost sustain many wrongs of the sons of men, being crushed with their sins as a cart is laden with sheaves: but if still they continue to load thee, thou wilt case thyself of that burden, and cast it on the ground of confusion. Thou art "slow to anger, but great in power, and wilt not surely clear the wicked" (Na 1:3). Thou dost for a long space hold thy peace at men's sins, and art still, and dost restrain thyself. But if men will not turn, thou wilt whet thy sword and bend thy bow, and make it ready. Patient thou art, and for a long time dost forbear thine hand; but when the forehead of sin begins to lose the blush of shame, when the bead roll of transgressions doth grow in score from East to West, when the cry of them pierceth above the clouds, when the height of wickedness is come unto the top, and the fruits thereof are ripe and full, then it is time for thee, Lord, to take notice of it, to awake like a giant, and to put to thine all revenging hand. But our sins are already ripe, yea, rotten ripe, the measure of our iniquities is full up to the brim. Doubtless out land is sunken deep in iniquity; our tongues and works have been against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory; the trial of our countenance doth testify against us (Isa 3:8-9), yea, we declare our sins as Sodom; we hide them not, the cry of our sins is exceeding grievouS, the clamours of them pierce the skies, and with a loud voice roar, saying: "How long, Lord, holy and true? How long ere thou come to avenge thyself on such a nation as this?" Re 6:10 Jer 9:9. George Webbe, in "A Posie of Spiritual Flowers," 1610.

Verse 126. It is time for thee, Lord. Some read it, and the original will bear it," It is time to work for thee, O Lord; "it is time for every one in his place to appear on the Lord's side, against the threatening growth of profaneness and immorality. We must do what we can for the support of the sinking interests of religion, and, after all, we must beg of God to take the work into his own hands. Matthew Henry.

Verse 126. They have made void thy law. In the second verse of this section he complained that the proud would oppress him, now he complains that they destroyed the law of God. Who, then, are David's enemies, who seek to oppress him? Only such as are enemies to God, and seek to destroy his law. A great comfort have we in this, that if we love the Lord, and study in a good conscience to serve him we can have no enemies but such as are enemies to God. William Cowper.

Verse 126. They have made void thy law. As if they would not only sin against the Law, but sin away the Law, not only withdraw themselves from the obedience of it, but drive St out of the world; they would make void and repeal the holy acts of God, that their own wicked acts might not be questioned; and lest the Law should have a power to punish them, they will deny it a power to rule them; that's the force of the simple word here used, as applied to highest transgressing against the Law of God. Joseph Caryl.

Verses 126-127. Everything betters a saint. Not only ordinances, word, sacraments, holy society, but even sinners and their very sinning. Even these draw forth their graces into exercise, and put them upon godly, broken hearted mourning. A saint sails with every wind. As the wicked are hurt by the best things, so the godly are bettered by the worst. Because "they have made void thy law, therefore do I love thy commandments." Holiness is the more owned by the godly, the more the world despiseth it. The most eminent saints were those of Caesar's (Nero's) house (Php 4:22); they who kept God's name were they who lived where Satan's throne was (Re 2:13). Zeal for God grows the hotter by opposition; and thereby the godly most labour to give the glory of God reparation. William Jenkyn (1612-1685), in "The Morning Exercises."

Verse 127. Therefore I love thy commandments above gold, etc. Partly, because it is one evidence of their excellency, that they are disliked by the vilest of men. Partly, out of a just indignation and opposition against my sworn enemies; and partly, because the great and general apostasy of others makes this duty more necessary to prevent their own and other men's relapses. Matthew Pool.

Verse 127. I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. The image employed brings before us the picture of the miser; his heart and his treasure are in his gold. With what delight he counts it! with what watchfulness he keeps it! hiding it in safe custody, lest he should be despoiled of that which is dearer to him than life. Such should Christians be, spiritual misers, counting their treasure which is "above fine gold"; and "hiding it in their hearts," in safe keeping, where the great despoiler shall not be able to reach it. Oh, Christians! how much more is your portion to you than the miser's treasure! Hide it; watch it; retain it. You need not be afraid of covetousness in spiritual things: rather "covet earnestly" to increase your store; and by living upon it and living in it, it will grow richer in extent, and more precious in value. Charles Bridges.

Verse 127. I love thy commandments. He professes not that he fulfilled them, but that he loved them; and truly it is a great progress in godliness, if we be come thus far, as from our heart,to love them. The natural man hates the commandments of God; they are so contrary to his corruption; but the regenerate man, as he hates his own corruption, so he loves the word, because according to it he desires to be reformed. And here is our comfort, that, albeit we cannot do what is commanded, yet if we love to do it, it is an argument of grace received. "Above gold" etc. It is lawful to love those creatures which God hath appointed for our use; with these conditions: the one is, that the first seat in our affection of love be reserved to God; and any other thing we love, that we love it in him and for him, and give it only the second room. Thus David, being a natural man, loved his natural food; but he protests he loved the law of the Lord more than his appointed food; and here he loves the commandments of God above all gold. William Cowper.

Verse 128. I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right. It is no compromising testimony to the integrity and value of the Lord's precepts with which the Psalmist concludes," I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right" -- every command, however hard; every injunction, however distasteful; every precept, however severe; even cut off thy right hand, pluck out thy right eye; forget thine own people and thy father's house; take up thy cross daily; sell all that thou hast-- yea, Lord, even so, "all thy precepts concerning all things are right." What a blessed truth to arrive at, and find comfort in! -- Barton Bouchier.

Verse 128. I esteem all thy precepts, etc. We must not only respect all God's commandments, but also respect them all alike, and give them all the like respect. Obedience must be universal. R. Mayhew, in "The death of Death in the Death of Christ," 1679.

Verse 128. All. The many "alls" in this verse used (not unlike that in Eze 44:30) showeth the integrity and universality of his obedience. "All" is but a little word, but of large extent. John Trapp.

Verse 128. All thy precepts concerning all things to be right. He had a high estimate of God's precepts; he thought them just in all things; just, because they prescribe nothing but that which is exactly just; and just, because they bring a just punishment on the transgressors, and a reward to the righteous. William Nicholson.

Verse 128. The upright man squares all his actions by a right rule: carnal reason cannot bias him, corrupt practice cannot sway him, but God's sacred word directs him. Hence it is that his respect is universal to all divine precepts, avoiding all evil, performing all good without exception. Thus David's upright man here esteems God's precepts concerning all things to be right, and therefore is careful to observe them. Hence it is, that he is the same man at all times, in all places; because at all times, and in all societies, he acts by one and the same rule. It is a good saying of S. Cyprian, "ea non est religio, sed dissimulatio, quce per omnia non constat sibi", that is not piety, but hypocrisy, that is not in all things like itself, since the upright man measures every action by the straight line of divine prescript. Abraham Wright.

Verse 128. I hate every false way. The best trial of our love to God and his word is the contrary-- hatred of sin and impiety: "Ye that love the Lord, hate evil." He that loves a tree, hates the worm that consumes it; he that loves a garment, hates the moth that eats it; he that loveth life, abhorreth death; and he that loves the Lord hates every thing that offends him. Let men take heed to this, who are in love of their sins: how can the love of God be in them? Religion binds us not only to hate one way of falsehood, but all the ways of it. As there is nothing good, but in some measure a godly man loves it; so is there nothing evil, but in some measure he hates it. And this is the perfection of the children of God; a perfection not of degrees; for we neither love good, nor hate evil as we should; but a perfection of parts; because we love every good, and we hate every evil in some measure. William Cowper.

Verse 128. And I hate. The Being who loves the good with infinite intensity must hate evil with the same intensity. So far from any incompatibility between this love and this hatred, they are the counterparts of each other, -- opposite poles of the same moral emotion. John W. Haley, in "A Examination of the alleged Discrepancies of the Bible," 1875.

Verse 128. I hate every false way. If Satan get a grip of thee by any one sin, is it not enough to carry thee to damnation? As the butcher carries the beast to the slaughter, sometime bound by all the four feet, and sometime by one only; so it is with Satan. Though thou be not a slave to all sin; if thou be a slave to one, the grip he hath of thee, by that one sinful affection, is sufficient to captive thee. William Cowper.

Verse 129. Thy testimonies are wonderful. The Scriptures are "wonderful," with respect to the matter which they contain, the manner in which they are written, and the effects which they produce. They contain the most sublime spiritual truths, veiled under external ceremonies and sacraments, figurative descriptions, typical histories, parables, similitudes, etc. When properly opened and enforced, they terrify and humble, they convert and transform, they console and strengthen. Who but must delight to study and to "observe" these "testimonies" of the will and the wisdom, the love and the power of God Most High! While we have these holy writings, let us not waste our time, misemploy our thoughts, and prostitute our admiration, by doting on human follies, and wondering at human trifles. George Horne.

Verse 129. Thy testimonies are wonderful. God's testimonies are "wonderful" (1) In their majesty and composure, which striketh reverence into the hearts of those that consider; the Scripture speaketh to us at a God like rate. (2) It is "wonderful" for the matter and depth of mystery, which cannot be found elsewhere, concerning God, and Christ, the creation of the world, the souls of men, and their immortal and everlasting condition, the fall of man, etc. (3) It is "wonderful" for purity and perfection. The Decalogue in ten words comprise the whole duty of man, and reacheth to the very soul, and all the motions of the heart. (4) It is "wonderful" for the harmony and consent of all the parts. All religion is of a piece, and one part doth not interfere with another, but conspires to promote the great end, of subjection of the creature to God. (5) It is "wonderful" for the power of it. There is a mighty power which goeth along with the word of God, and astonishes the hearts of those that consider it and feel it. 1Th 1:5. Thomas Manton.

Verse 129. Thy testimonies are wonderful. The Bible itself is an astonishing and standing miracle. Written fragment by fragment through the course of fifteen centuries, under different states of society, and in different languages, by persons of the most opposite tempers, talents, and conditions, learned and unlearned, prince and peasant, bond and free; cast into every form of instructive composition and good writing; history, prophecy, poetry, allegory, emblematic representation, judicious interpretation, literal statement, precept, example, proverbs, disquisition, epistle, sermon, prayer-- in short, all rational shapes of human discourse, and treating, moreover, on subjects not obvious, but most difficult; its authors are not found like other men, contradicting one another upon the most ordinary matters of fact and opinion, but are at harmony upon the whole of their sublime and momentous scheme. J. Maclagan, 1788-1852.

Verse 129. Highly prize the Scriptures, or you will not obey them. David said," therefore doth my soul keep them"; and why was this, but that he counted them to be wonderful? Can he make a proficiency in any art, who doth slight and deprecate it? Prize this book of God above all other books. St. Gregory calls the Bible "the heart and soul of God." The rabbins say, that there is a mountain of sense hangs upon every apex and tittle of Scripture. "The law of the Lord is perfect" (Ps 14:7). The Scripture is the library of the Holy Ghost; it is a pandect of divine knowledge, an exact model and platform of religion. The Scripture contains in it the credenda," the things which we are to believe," and the agenda," the things which we are to practise." It is "able to make us wise unto salvation": 2Ti 3:15. "The Scripture is the standard of truth, "the judge of controversies; it is the pole star to direct us to heaven (Isa 8:20). "The commandment is a lamp": Pr 6:23. The Scripture is the compass by which the rudder of our will is to be steered; it is the field in which Christ, the Pearl of price, is hid; it is a rock of diamonds, it is a sacred collyrium, or "we salve; " it mends their eyes that look upon it; it is a spiritual optic glass in which the glory of God is resplendent; it is the panacea or "universal medicine" for the soul. The leaves of Scripture are like the leaves of the tree of life," for the healing of the nations": Re 22:2. The Scripture is both the breeder and feeder of grace. How is the convert born, but by "the word of truth"? Jas 1:18. How doth he grow, but by "the sincere milk of the word"? 1Pe 2:2. The word written is the book out of which our evidences for heaven are fetched; it is the sea mark which shows us the rocks of sin to avoid; it is the antidote against error and apostasy, the two edged sword which wounds the old serpent. It is our bulwark to withstand the force of lust; like the Capitol of Rome, which was a place of strength and ammunition. The Scripture is the "tower of David," whereon the shields of our faith hang: So 4:4. "Take away the word, and you deprive us of the sun," said Luther. The word written is above an angelic embassy, or voice from heaven. "This voice which came from heaven we heard. We have also, "bebaioteron lolon," a more sure word": 2Pe 1:18-19 O, prize the word written; prizing is the way to profiting. If Caesar so valued his Commentaries, that for preserving them he lost his purple robe, how should we estimate the sacred oracles of God? "I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food": Job 23:12. King Edward the Sixth, on the day of his coronation, had presented before him three swords, signifying that he was monarch of three kingdoms. The king said, there was one sword wanting; being asked what that was, he answered, "The Holy Bible, which is the sword of the Spirit, and is to be preferred before these ensigns of royalty." Robert King of Sicily did so prize God's word, that, speaking to his friend Petrarcha, he said, "I protest, the Scriptures are dearer to me than my kingdom; and if I must be deprived of one of them, I had rather lose my diadem than the Scriptures." -- Thomas Watson, in "The Morning Exercises."

Verse 129. The word contains matter to exercise the greatest minds. Many men cannot endure to spend their thoughts and time about trivial matters; whereas others think it happiness enough if they can, by the meanest employments, procure subsistence. Oh, let all those of high aspirations exercise themselves in the law of God; here are objects fit for great minds, yea, objects that will elevate the greatest: and indeed none in the world are truly great but the saints, for they exercise themselves in the great counsels of God. We account those men the greatest that are employed in state affairs: now the saints are lifted up above all things in the world, and regard them all as little and mean, and are exercised in the great affairs of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Hence the Lord would have the kings and the judges to have the book of the law written, De 17:18-19; and it is reported of Alphonsus, king of Arragon, that in the midst of all his great and manifold occupations, he read over the Scriptures fourteen times with commentaries. How many have we, men of great estates, and claiming to be of great minds, that scarce regard the law of God: they look upon his law as beneath them. Books of history and war they will peruse with diligence; but for the Scripture, it is a thing that has little in it. It is a special means to obedience to have high thoughts of God's law. That is the reason why the prophet speaks thus," I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing": Ho 8:12. As if he should say, if they had had the things of my law in their thoughts, they would never so have acted. Ps 114:129," Thy testimonies are wonderful, therefore doth my soul keep them." He saith not, therefore do I keep them; but, therefore doth my soul keep them; my very soul is in this, in keeping thy testimonies, for I look upon them as wonderful things. It is a good sign that the spirit of the great God is in a man, when it raises him above other things, to look upon the things of his word as the only great things in the world. "All flesh is grass, and all the godliness thereof is as the flower of the field: the grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever:" Isa 40:6,8. There is a vanity in all things of the world; but in that which the word reveals, in that there is an eternity: we should therefore admire at nothing so as at the word, and we should greatly delight in God's commandments; an ordinary degree of admiration or delight is not sufficient, but great admiration and great delight there should be in the law of God. And all arguments drawn from God's law should powerfully prevail with you. Jeremiah Burroughs.

Verse 129. Thy testimonies are wonderful. Wonders will never cease. Air, earth, water, the world above, the world beneath, time, eternity, worms, birds, fishes, beasts men, angels are all full of wonders. The more all things are studied, the more do wonders appear. It is idle, therefore, to find fault with the mysteries of Scripture, or to deny them. Inspiration glories in them. He who rejects the mysteries of love, grace, truth, power, justice and thankfulness of God's word, rejects salvation. It has marvels in itself, and marvels in its operation. They are good cause of love, not of offence; of keeping, not of breaking God's precepts. William S. Plumer.

Verse 129. My soul, not merely I, but I with all my heart and soul. Joseph Addison Alexander.

Verse 129. I have completed reading the whole Bible through since January last. I began it on the first day of the present year, and finished it on the 26th of October. I have read it in that space four times, and not without real profit to myself. I always find in it something new; it being, like its Author, infinite and inexhaustible. Samuel Eyles Pierce, 1814.

Verse 129. What do I not owe to the Lord for permitting me to take a part in the translation of his word? Never did I see such wonders, and wisdom, and love, in the blessed book, as since I have been obliged to study every expression; and it is a delightful reflection, that death cannot deprive us of the pleasure of studying its mysteries. Henry Martyn.

Verse 130. The opening of thy words enlightens, making the simple understand. The common version of the first word (entrance) is inaccurate, and the one here given, though exact, is ambiguous. The clause does not refer to the mechanical opening of the book by the reader, but to the spiritual opening of its true sense by divine illumination, to the mind which naturally cannot discern it. Joseph Addison Alexander.

Verse 130. Entrance, lit. opening, i.e. unfolding or unveiling. J.J Stewart Perowne.

Verse 130. The entrance of thy words giveth light. The first entrance, or vestibule: for the Psalmist wishes to point out that only the beginnings are apprehended in this life; and that these beginnings are to be preferred to all human wisdom. Henricus Mollerus.

Verse 130. The entrance of thy words giveth light, etc. The beginning of them; the first three chapters in Genesis, what light do they give into the origin of all things; the creation of man, his state of innocence; his fall through the temptations of Satan, and his recovery and salvation by Christ, the seed of the woman! The first principles of the oracles of God, the rudiments of religion, the elements of the world, the rites of the ceremonial law gave great light unto Gospel mysteries. John Gill.

Verse 130. The entrance of thy words giveth light. A profane shop man crams into his pocket a leaf of a Bible, and reads the last words of Daniel: "Go thou thy way, till the end be, for thou shalt rest and stand in thy lot at the end of the days," and begins to think what Iris own lot will be when days are ended. A Gottingen Professor opens a big printed Bible to see if he has eyesight enough to read it, and alights on the passage," I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not," and in reading in the eyes of his understanding are enlightened. Cromwell's soldier opens his Bible to see how far the musket ball has pierced, and finds it stopped at the verse: "Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth; and walk in the ways of thine heart and the sight of thine eyes; but know thou that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment." And in a frolic the Kentish soldier opens the Bible which his broken hearted mother had sent him, and the first sentence that turns up is the text so familiar in boyish days: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden," and the weary profligate repairs for rest to Jesus Christ. James Hamilton, 1814-1867.

Verse 130. He amplifies this praise of the word of God when he saith that the entrance thereof, the first operant of the door of the word, gives light: for if the first entrance to it give light, what will the progress and continuance thereof do? This accuseth the age wherein we live, who now of a long time hath been taught by the word of God so clearly, that in regard of time they might have been teachers of others, yet are they but children in knowledge and understanding. But to whom doth the word give understanding? David saith to the "simple": not to such as are high minded, or double in heart, or wise in their own eyes, who will examine the mysteries of godliness by the quickness of natural reason. No: to such as deny themselves, as captive their natural understanding, and like humble disciples submit themselves, not to ask, but to hear; not to reason, but to believe. And if for this cause, naturalists who want this humility cannot profit by the word; what marvel that Papists far less become wise by it, who have their hearts so full of prejudices concerning it, that they spare not to utter blasphemies against it, calling it not unprofitable, but pernicious to the simple and to the idiots. And again, where they charge it with difficulty, that simple men and idiots should not be suffered to read it, because it is obscure; all these frivolous allegations of men are annulled by this one testimony of God, that it gives light to the simple. William Cowper.

Verse 130. Light. This "light" hath excellent properties.

1. It is lux manifestans, it manifests itself and all things else. How do I see the sun, but by the sun, by its own light? How do I know the Scripture to be the word of God, but by the light that shineth in it, commending itself to my conscience! So it manifests all things else; it layeth open all frauds and impostures of Satan, the vanity of worldly things, the deceits of the heart, the odiousness of sin.

2. It is lux dirigens, a directing light, that we may see our way and work. As the sun lighteth man to his labour, so doth this direct us in all our conditions: Ps 119:105. It directs us how to manage ourselves in all conditions.

3. It is lux vivificans, a quickening light. "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life": Joh 8:12. "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light": Eph 5:14. That light was the life of men: so is this spiritual life; it not only discovereth the object, but helpeth the faculty, filleth the soul with life and strength.

4. It is lux exhilarans, a comforting, refreshing, cheering light; and that in two respects. (1) Because it presents us with excellent grounds of comfort. (2) Because it is a soul satisfying light. Condensed from Manton.

Verse 130. It giveth understanding. If all the books in the world were assembled together, the Bible would as much take the lead in disciplining the understanding as in directing the soul. It will not make astronomers, chemists, or linguists; but there is a great difference between strengthening the mind and storing it with information. Henry Melvill.

Verse 130. It giveth understanding to the simple. There are none so knowing that God cannot blind; none so blind and ignorant whose mind and heart his Spirit cannot open. He who, by his incubation upon the waters at the creation, hatched that rude mass into the beautiful form we now see, and out of that dark chaos made the glorious heavens, and garnished them with so many orient stars, can move upon thy dark soul and enlighten it, though it be as void of knowledge as the evening of the world's first day was of light. The schoolmaster sometimes sends home the child, and bids his father to put him to another trade, because not able, with all his art, to make a scholar of him; but if the Spirit of God be master, thou shalt learn, though a dunce: "The entrance of thy word giveth light, it giveth understanding to the simple.": No sooner is the soul entered into the Spirit's school, than he becomes a proficient. William Gurrnall.

Verse 130. To the simple. He does not say, "giveth understanding" to the wise and prudent, to learned men, and to those skilled in letters; but to the "simple." -- Wolfgang Musculus.

Verse 130. To the simple. This is one great characteristic of the word of God, -- however incomprehensible to the carnal mind, it is adapted to every grade of enlightened intelligence. W. Wilson.

Verse 130. The simple. The word is used sometimes in a good sense, and sometimes in a bad sense. It is used in a good sense, First, for the sincere and plain hearted: "The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me": Ps 116:6. "For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly toward you": 2Co 1:12. Secondly, for those that do not oppose the presumption of carnal wisdom to the pure light of the word: so we must all be simple, or fools, that we may be wise: "If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise" (1Co 3:18); that is, in simplicity of heart submitting to God's conduct, and believing what he hath revealed. Thomas Manton

Verse 131. I opened my mouth, and panted. By this manner of speech, David expresses, as Basil thinks, animi propensionem, that the inclination of his soul was after God's word. For, this opened mouth, Ambrose thinks, is os interioris hominis, the mouth of the inward man, which in effect is his heart; and the, speech notes vehementem animi intensionem, a vehement intension of his spirit, saith Euthymius. Yet shall it not be amiss to consider here how the mind of the godly earnestly affected moves the body also. The speech may be drawn from travellers, who being very desirous to attain to their proposed ends, enforce their strength thereunto; and finding a weakness in their body to answer their will, they pant and open their mouth, seeking refreshment from the air to renew their strength: or as Vatablus thinks, from men exceeding hungry and thirsty, who open their mouth as if they would draw in the whole air, and then pant and sigh within themselves when they find no full refreshment by it. So he expresses it: "My heart burns with so ardent a longing for thy commandments, that I am forced ever and anon to gasp by reason of my painful breathing." However it be, it lets us see how the hearing, reading, or meditating of God's word wakened in David a most earnest affection to have the light, joy, grace, and comfort thereof communicated to his own heart. For in the godly, knowledge of good increaseth desires; and it cannot be expressed how vehemently their souls long to feel that power and comfort which they know is in the word; and how sore they are grieved and troubled when they find it not. And happy were we, if we could meet the Lord with this like affection; that when he opens his mouth, we could also open our heart to hear, as David here doth. Christus aperit os, ut daret allis spiritum; David aperuil ut acciperet;offering his heart to receive the spirit of grace, when God openeth his mouth in his word to give it. For it is his promise to us all-- "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it." Let us turn it into a prayer, that the Lord, who opened the heart of Lydia, would open our heart to receive grace when he offers by his word to give it. William Cowper.

Verse 131. I opened my mouth, and panted, etc, There are two ways in which these words may be understood. They may be considered as expressing the very earnest longing of the Psalmist for greater acquaintance with God in spiritual things; and then in saying, "I opened my mouth, and panted," he merely asserts the vehemence of his desire. Or you may separate the clauses: you may regard the first as the utterance of a man utterly dissatisfied with the earth and earthly things, and the second as the expression of a consciousness that God, and God only, could meet the longings of his soul. "I opened my mouth, and panted. "Out of breath, with chasing shadows, and hunting after baubles, I sit down exhausted, as far off as ever from the happiness which has been earnestly but fruitlessly sought. Whither, then, shall I turn? Thy commandments, O Lord, and these alone, can satisfy the desires of an immortal being like myself; and on these, therefore, henceforward shall my longings be turned. Henry Melvill.

Verse 131. I opened my mouth, and panted. A metaphor taken from men scorched and sweltered with heat, or from those that have run themselves out of breath in following the thing which they would overtake. The former metaphor expressed the vehemency of his love; the other the earnestness of his pursuit: he was like a man gasping for breath, and sucking in the cool air. Thomas Manton.

Verse 131. I longed for thy commandments. This is a desire which God will satisfy. "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it": Ps 81:10. Thomas Manton.

Verse 132. Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, etc. "Look upon me" stripped by thieves of my virtues, and then wounded with sins, and "be merciful unto me," showing compassion on me, taking care of me in the inn of the Church universal, that I fall not again among thieves, nor be harmed by the wolves which howl about this fold, but dare not enter in. "Look upon me," no longer worthy to be called thy son, and "be merciful unto me," not as the jealous elder brother would treat me, but let me join the glad song and banquet of them that love thy name. Look upon me the publican, standing afar off in thy temple the Church, and be merciful unto me, not after the Pharisee's judgment, but "as thou usest to do unto them that love thy name," which is the gracious God. Look on me as on weeping Peter, and be merciful unto me as thou wast to him, who so loved thy name as by his triple confession of love to wash out his threefold denial, saying, "Lord, thou knowest that I love thee." "Look upon me," as on the sinful woman, penitent and weeping, and be merciful unto me, not according to the judgment of the Pharisee who murmured at her, as Judas who was indignant at her, but forgiving me as thou didst her, "because she loved much," telling me also, "Thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace." -- Neale and Littledale.

Verse 132. Look thou upon me. Lord! since our looks to thee are often so slight, so cold, so distant, that no impression is made upon our hearts, do thou condescend continually to look upon us with mercy and with power. Vouchsafe us such a look, as may bring us to ourselves and touch us with tenderness and contrition in the remembrance of that sin, unbelief, and disobedience, which pierced the hands, the feet, the heart of our dearest Lord and Saviour. Comp. Lu 22:61. Charles Bridges.

Verse 132. As thou usest to do, etc. David would not lose any privilege that God hath by promise settled on his children. Do with me, saith he, "as thou usest to do." This is no more than family fare, what you promise to do for all that love thee; and let me not go worse clad than the rest of my brethren. William Gurnall.

Verse 132. As thou usest to do unto those, etc. We should be content if God deals with us as he has always dealt with his people. While he could not be satisfied with anything less than their portion, David asks for nothing better; he implores no singular dispensation in his favour, no deviation from the accustomed methods of his grace...It is always a good proof that your convictions and desires are from the operation of the Spirit when you are willing to conform to God's order. What is this order? It is to dispense his blessings connectedly. It is never to justify without sanctifying; never to give a title to heaven without a meetness for it. Now the man that is divinely wrought upon will not expect nor desire the one without the other. Therefore he will not expect the blessing of God without obedience; because it is always God's way to connect the comforts of the Holy Ghost with the fear of the Lord; and if his children transgress his laws, to visit their transgressions with a rod. Therefore he will neither expect nor desire his blessing without exertion; for it has always been God's way to crown only those that run the race that is set before them, and fight the good fight of faith. Therefore he will not expect nor desire the Divine blessing without prayer; for it has always been God's way to make his people sensible of their wants, and to give an answer to prayer. Therefore he will not expect nor desire to reach heaven without difficulties; for his people have always had to deny themselves, and take up their cross. If they have not been chosen in the furnace of affliction, they have been purified. God had one Son without sin, but he never had one without sorrow: "he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." "Yes," says the suppliant before us, "secure me their everlasting portion, and I am willing to drink of the cup they drank of, and to be baptized with the baptism they were baptized with. I want no new, no by path to glory. I am content to keep the King's high road. Be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name. I ask no more." -- William Jay, 1769-1853.

| Verses 1-44 | Verses 45-88 | Verses 89-132 | Verses 133-176 |

Preface - Introduction - Notes - Exposition - Works Upon This Psalm
Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings - Hints to the Village Preacher



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