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acquaintance, much less should they be his favourites. In the same manner speaketh our heavenly King, with regard to the appointment of his ministers and servants:— I know you not, whence you are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.' Luke, xiii. 27.
5. Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off : him that hath an high look, and a proud, or, extended, and therefore, insatiable, heart, will not I suffer.
Detraction, ambition, and avarice are three weeds which spring and flourish in the rich soil of a court. The Psalmist declareth his resolution to undertake the difficult task of eradicating them, for the benefit of his people, that Israelites might not be harassed by informers, or oppressed by insolent and rapacious ministers. Shall we imagine these vices less odious in the eyes of that King whose character was composed of humility and charity ? or will Christ admit those tempers into the court of heaven which David determined to exclude from his court upon earth ?
6. Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.
The 'eyes' of princes cannot be better employed than in looking around them, in order to choose, from among their own subjects, fit and able men to transact the public business; men of inviolable ' fidelity,' and unshaken integrity; men who know how to think aright, and how to speak what they think; men likewise who' walk in the perfect way’ of holiness, who do not disgrace their politics by
their lives, or prejudice their master's cause by their sins, more than they can ever advance it by their abilities. Bishops may be called the 'eyes' of Christ; they are to 'overlook' his people, and we pray him at the seasons of ordination, “so to guide and govern their minds, that they may faithfully and wisely make choice of fit persons to serve in the sacred ministry of the church.”
7. He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house ; he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.
To purge a court of 'deceit' and · falsehood,' was a resolution worthy king David, worthy the representative of him who styleth himself the Truth, from whose heavenly palace and city will be for ever excluded, as St. John informeth us, 'whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.' Rev. xxii. 15.
8. I will early destroy all the wicked of the land: that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the Lord.
Every earthly prince should consider himself as raised to a throne, and invested with power, “ for the punishment of wickedness and vice, and the maintenance of God's true religion and virtue." • Early, therefore, in the morning' of his reign, he should set about the work of reformation, that so the blessings of heaven may descend upon himself and his people, according to the infallible promises of the Most High. And let each individual, in like manner, and for the same reason, be zealous and diligent to reform his own heart and ways, ever mindful of that future most awful morning, when the King of Righteousness shall “cut off,
with the sword of eternal judgment, 'all wicked doers from that city of Jehovah,' the new and heavenly Jerusalem.
Twentieth Day.-Morning Prayer.
ARGUMENT.-This Psalm is entitled "A prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the Lord.' It seems to have been written during the captivity, by one of the prophets, who, like Daniel in parallel circumstances, 1, 2. maketh supplication before his God, 3—11. setteth forth, in the most affecting strains, his wretched and sorrowful estate, or rather, perhaps, that of Jerusalem, which he personates ; 12. he comforteth himself, by reflecting on the eternity and immutability of Jehovah; 13—22. he predicteth and describeth the restoration of Sion, with her enlargement by the accession of the Gentiles, when Messiah shall have visited and redeemed her ; 23, 24. he returneth again to his lamentations; but 25—28. again reposeth his confidence on him who created all things, and who would not fail to make good his word and promise, if not to the generation then present, yet to their posterity. This is the fifth of those styled 'Penitential Psalms;' and St. Paul, Heb. i. 10, hath asserted, that it is addressed to the eternal Son of God, and Saviour of the world.
1. Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee. 2. Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me : in the day when I call, answer me speedily.
Sin and sorrow force · prayers' and cries' from the sons of Adam. The first petition here preferred is, that these prayers and cries may be heard' in heaven. The day of human life is ' a day of trouble,' a day of darkness and gloominess, which
nothing can brighten, but the light of God's countenance ;' nothing can render comfortable, but a 'speedy answer' of mercy and peace from above.
3. For my days are consumed away like, or, in, smoke, and my bones are burnt as an hearth, or, a firebrand.
The effects of extreme grief on the human frame are compared to those which fire produceth upon fuel. It exhausts the radical moisture, and, by so doing, soon consumes the substance. A man's time and his strength evaporate in melancholy, and his
bones,' those pillars and supports of his body, become like wood, on which the fire hath done its work, and left it without sap, and without cohesion. A single penitent, or a whole church, bewailing their respective transgressions, when under the rod of God, may use these words, and will understand the force of them.
4. My heart is smitten and withered like grass ; so that I forget to eat my bread.
The metaphor is continued, and the heart'itself, out of which flow the streams of life, is represented as suffering that from grief which the “grass' of the field suffers from the burning heat of the sun: it is 'smitten and withered. And when grief hath thus dejected the spirits, the man has no appetite for that food which is to recruit and elevate them. Ahab, smitten with one kind of grief, David with another, and Daniel with a third, all “forgot,' or * refused to eat their bread : 1 Kings, xxi. 4; 2 Sam. xii, 16; Dan. x. 3. Such natural companions are ' mourning and fasting.'
5. By reason of the voice of my groaning, my bones cleave to my skin.
Extremity of sorrow causeth the flesh to waste, and the bones to press upon the skin, through which they are ready to force their way. Sickness is the chastisement of heaven, inflicted often upon us to supply the want of that discipline which we should exercise upon ourselves. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. 1 Cor. xi. 31.
6. I am like the pelican of the wilderness : I am like an owl, or, bittern, of the desert, or, of waste, ruinous places. 7. I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house-top.
The sorrowful man is naturally desirous of retiring from the world, to vent his complaints in solitude, and to pass the nights in watchfulness and prayer. In such a situation the true penitent placeth himself, worthily to bewail bis sins, and deprecate the judgments of his God. And in such a situation did captivity place the daughter of Sion, that she might do likewise. The use which Daniel made of it for this purpose may be seen in his ninth chapter.
8. Mine enemies reproach me all the day: and they that are mad against me, are sworn against me.
The scoffs and reproaches of men are generally added to the chastisements of God; or rather, perhaps, are a part, and sometimes the bitterest part of them. How the enemies of Jerusalem behaved in the day of her calamity, is well known. How