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ment of all things; a sentiment which was rather pious than judicious, and led them often to wrest several passages in the psalms by violent and unnatural glosses : Yet I would not morosely reject all interpretations of that kind, seeing the Apostles themselves apply to Christ many passages out of the psalms and other books of the Old Testament, which if we had not been assured of it by their authority, we should hardly have imagined to have had any reference to him. Nor is it probable that they enumerated all the predictions of the Messiah, which are to be found in the prophetic writings, but only a very small part of them, while they often assure us that all the sacred writers principally centre in him; and it is certain the passage out of this psalm which Austin, and some others, suppose to refer to Christ, may be applied to him without any force upon the expression, O ye sons of men, how long will

ye turn my glory into shame*? And what fol. lows they explain with the same reference, Know that the Lord has in a wonderful manner separated his Holy One unto himself. Others however render the title in a different manner (victori) to the conqueror. Moderns translate it præcentori, or præfecto musicæ, to the chief musician, or him who presided over the band of musicians, which after all seems the most natural interpretation. The word Neginoth, which is sometimes rendered stringed instruments, did no doubtsignifyinstruments of mu

* They read it gravi corde, as expressive of the stupidity of heart which the rejecting of Christ and his gospel manifests.

sic which were struck to give their sound, as Nehiloth, in the title of psalm v. seems, though not without some little irregularity in the Etymology, to signifyinstruments of windmusic. The psalm was written by David, as a summary of the prayer he had poured out before God, when some exceeding great affliction seemed to besiege him on every side, whether it were the persecution of Saul, or the conspiracy of Absalom his son.

Ver. 1. Hear me when I call, O God of my righte

ousness, thou hast enlarged me when I was in dis. tress, have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.

HEAR me.] Behold the sanctuary to which this good man betook himself, in all the afflictions of his life a sanctuary, which therefore he sets off, by accumulating a variety of expressive titles all to the same purpose, Psal. xviii. 1. My rock, my fortress, my strength, my deliverer, my buckler, &c. He is indeed a Place of refuge to his children ; and therefore, as Solomon expresses it, Prov xiv. 26. In the fear of the Lord is a strong confidence. There seems something of an Ænigma in that expression, confidence in fear, yet the thing itself is most true. And again, Prov. xviii. 10. The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. And they who know not this refuge are miserable; and when any danger arises, they run hither and thither, as Antonius beautifully ex

presses it, μυιάων επίομενων διαδρομαΐς, « They Hy and flutter they know not whither.” The life of man upon earth is a warfare; and it is much better, in the midst of enemies and dangers, to be acquainted with one fortress than with many Inns. He that knows how to pray may be pressed, but can. not be overwhelmed*.

Hear me O Lord, hear my prayer.] He did not think it enough to have said this once, but he redoubled it. He who prays indeed is seriously engaged in the matter, and not only seriously but vehemently too, and urges the address, because he himself is urged by his necessities and difficulties, and the ardent motion of his own desire and affection, and let it be observed, that these are the only prayers that mounton high, and offer a kind of

grateful violence to heaven. Nor does the divine goodness grant any thing with greater readiness and delight, than the blessings which seem, if I may, be allowed the expression, to be forced out and extorted by the most fervent prayer. So that Tertullian used to say,

“ That when we pray eagerly, we do as it were combine in a resolute band, and lay siege to God himselft.” These are the perpetual sacrifces in the temple of God (θυσίαι λογικα) rational victims, prayers and intermingled vows, flowing from an upright and pure heart: But he who presents his petitions coldly, seems to bespeak a denial: For is it to be wondered at,

* Premi potest, non potest opprimi.
+ Precantes veluti stip ato agmine Deum obsidere.

that we do not prevail on God to hear our prayers, when we hardly hear them ourselves while we offer them? How can we suppose that such devotions should penetrate heaven, or ascend up to it: How should they ascend when they do not so much as go forth from our own bosoms, but like wretched abortives, die in the very birth? But why do I say that they do not go out from the inward recesses of our bosoms ? alas! they are only formed on the surface of our lips, and they expire there, quite different from what Homer ascribes to his wise and eloquent Ulysses, when he says,

"Οπα σε μεγάλίω έκ ήθεος έρι.
Forth from his breast he poured a mighty cry.

Thou God of my righteousness.] “O God who art righteous thyself, and art the patron of my righteousness, of my righteous cause, and of my righteous life;" for it is necessary that both should concur, if we desire to address our prayers to God with any confidence: not that depending upon this righteousness, we should seek the divine aid and favour, as a matter of just debt; for then as the apostle argues, it were no more of grace, Rom. xi, 6. Our prophet is certainly very far from boasting of his merits ; for here he so mentions his righteousness, as at the same time to cast himself

the divine mercy, Have mercy upon me, exercise thy propitious clemency towards me; and this is indeed the genuine temper of one who truly prays with sincerity and humility; for polluted hands are an abomination to the Lord, and he hates the heart that is puffed up; he beholds the proud afar off, as the celebrated parable of the Pharisee and Publican, Luke xviii. is (you know) intended to teach us. Thou art not a God that hast pleasure in wickedness. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. But the righteous Lord loveth righteousness, and his countenance beholds the upright. Whereas the words of the wicked, when he prays, are but as a fan, or as bellows, to blow up the divine displeasure into a flame: for how can he appease God, who does not at all please him? or how can he please, who is indeed himself displeased with God, and who utterly disregards his pure laws, and that holiness which is so dear to him ?

upon

Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress.] “I have often experienced both the riches of thy bounty, and the power of thy hand; and I derive confidence from thence, because thou art immutable, and canst never be wearied, by rescuing thy servants from the dangers that surround them.” The examples we have heard of divine aid granted to others in their distress should animate us, as David recollected, Psal. xxii. 4. Our fathers trusted in thee, they trusted in thee, and thou didst deliver them ; but our own personal experiences are later and nearer, and he who treasures them up in his memory, not only thereby expresses his gratitude to God, but wisely consults his own interest ; for he enjoys all those benefits of the divine favour

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