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4. Thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey.
This may be a beautiful apostrophe to mount Sion (mentioned ver. 2), as appearing infinitely more glorious and excellent, through the favour and protection of her God, than the arm of flesh and the instruments of war could render the kingdoms of the earth, which set themselves against her; and which, for their tyranny, and cruelty, and the ravages committed by them, are likened to those mountains, where beasts of prey, with similar dispositions, rove, and roar, and devour. The powers of the world “ make war with the Lamb, whose station is opon “ mount Sion ;” but “the Lamb shall overcome “them, for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings ; " and they that are with him are called, and chosen, “ and faithful.” Rev. xiv. 1. xvii. 14.
5. The stout-hearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep: and none of the men of might have found their hands. 6. At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, both the chariot, or, rider, and horse, are cast into a dead sleep.
It must be acknowledged, that these two verses seem in a very particular manner to point at the miraculous destruction of Sennacherib's army, when the “stout“ hearted,” who doubted not of taking and spoiling the holy city, were themselves suddenly "spoiled” of strength and life; they " slept their sleep, and “ found not their hands ;" they awaked not again to' the use of their powers and faculties ; a rebuking blast was sent from the God of Jacob, under which
the flower of Assyria withered in the space of a night, and in the morning was no more;” the horse and “ his rider were cast into a dead sleep;” they slept the sleep of death. How, in a moment, “were the “ mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished !" How astonishing the downfal of the tyrant! How complete the triumph of the daughter of Sion! Such will be the destruction of the world; such the salvation of the people of God.
7. Thou, even thou, art to be feared ; and, who may stand in thy sight, when once thou art angry?
Why are the miraculous exertions of omnipotence recorded in the book of life, but to suggest to us this reflection, that God, and God only, is the proper object of our fear; since neither the wisdom of the wise, nor the power of the mighty, no, not the world itself, can stand a single moment before him, “when “ once he is angry?" Yet we continue to dread any frowns but those of Heaven; and one poor, vain, sinful man shall, through a course of sixty or seventy years, incessantly and undauntedly tempt and provoke Him who destroyed 185,000 in a night. What is this, but madness?
8. Thou didst cause judgement to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was still; 9. When God arose to judgement, to save all the meek of the earth, or, the afflicted of the land.
A destruction so far exceeding human power, was evidently the sentence of God's judgement, audibly pronounced from the eternal throne; and it was heard by all the earth with an awful silence, as when he speaks to attentive nature in thunder. Such was the effect which this interposition in behalf of his people produced among the surviving Assyrians, and the neighbouring nations. Let us carry our thoughts on to the sensations which will be felt in the hearts of men, at that hour when the last trump shall sound in the heavens, and the earth shall shake from her foundations; when God shall arise to execute judgement on the adversaries of his church; and to save, with an everlasting salvation, all the meek and afflicted of the earth.
10. Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee : the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.
The wrath of man, and of Satan himself, against the church, turns, in the end, to the praise and glory of God, who represses it when at its height; and at all times appoints those bounds which it cannot pass, any more than the raging waves of the ocean can overflow their appointed barrier of sand.
11. Vow and pay unto the LORD your God; let all that are round about him bring presents unto him that ought to be feared. 12. He shall cut off, or, restrain, the spirit of princes ; he is terrible to the kings of the earth.
If such should have been the gratitude and devotion of Israelites, for a temporary deliverance from the fury of an earthly tyrant: how much higher ought that of Christians to rise, for eternal redemption from the great oppressor! How ought they to “ vow and pay their vows unto the LORD their
God; to bring presents,” to offer all they have, and all they are, to him who is so greatly“ to be
feared,” so highly to be loved ; to him who “ re“ strains” the fury of evil angels, as well as “the
spirit of princes ;” and is “ terrible" to the powers of darkness, no less than to "the kings of “ the earth!”
As the foregoing Psalm was evidently composed
when the church had obtained deliverance from her enemies, this seems no less plainly to have been written at a time when she was in captivity under them. It contains, 1-4. a complaint of sufferings; and, 5-20. a description at large of the struggle between distrust and faith ; which latter prevails, by having recourse to the consideration of ancient mercies ; particularly, that of redemption from Egypt. The Psalm is admirably calculated for the use and consolation of any church, or soul, when in affliction and distress.
1. I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice ; and he gave ear unto me.
Uneasiness in the heart will utter itself by the “ voice ;' and when the pain is intense, the “cry” will be loud. Only let it take a right direction, and ascend to heaven ; let the application be made to
God,” who will both “ hear” and help; not to the world, which will not do one, and cannot do the
other. The cries of the Son of God alone were heards for his own sake; the cries of all other men are heard for his sake.
2. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord : my sore ran in the night, and ceased not ; Heb. my hand was stretched out in the night, and ceased not, or, without intermission; my soul refused to be comforted.
To a soul deeply sensible of the world's vanity, and the misery of sin, every day is a “ day of “ trouble," and the whole time of her pilgrimage is a long, dark, and wearisome "night,” during which she seeks after her beloved by prayer; and, for the sake of him, and those future joys which she expects in his presence, the pleasures of sense are put away from her, and she "refuses to be comforted” by such comforters. An Israelite cannot enjoy himself in Babylon; a Christian cannot find perfect satisfaction in the world: a return to Jerusalem will employ the thoughts of both.
3. I remembered God, and was troubled; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed; or, I remembered God, and made a noise, i. e. in prayer to him; I meditated, and my spirit was obscured, or, darkened, through grief and affliction.
This is a fine description of what passes in an afficted and dejected mind. Between the remembrance of God and his former mercies, and the meditation on a seeming desertion under present calamities, the affections are variously agitated, and the prayers disturbed, like the tumultuous waves of a troubled