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C. H. Spurgeon :: Psalm 119 Verses 129-136

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Psalm 119 Verses 129-136


EXPOSITION VERSE 129

Verse 129.—"Thy commands are wonderful." Full of wonderful revelations, commands and promises. Wonderful in their nature, as being free from all error, and bearing within themselves overwhelming self evidence of their truth; wonderful in their effects as instructing, elevating, strengthening, and comforting the soul. Jesus the eternal Word is called Wonderful, and all the uttered words of God are wonderful in their degree. Those who know them best wonder at them most. It is wonderful that God should have borne testimony at all to sinful men, and more wonderful still that his testimony should be of such a character, so clear, so full, so gracious, so mighty.

"Therefore doth my soul keep them." Their wonderful character so impressed itself upon his mind that he kept them in his memory: their wonderful excellence so charmed his heart that he kept them in his life. Some men wonder at the words of God, and use them for their speculation; but David was always practical, and the more he wondered the more he obeyed. Note that his religion was soul work; not with head and hand alone did he keep the testimonies; but his soul, his truest and most real self, held fast to them.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

All the verses of this section begin with the seventeenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet; but each verse with a different word.

William S. Plumer.

This seventeenth letter is the letter P. The section is precious, practical, profitable, powerful; peculiarly so.

C. H. S.

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" (Psa 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:" Pro 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 "eye 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:" Rev 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: Sng 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," βεβαιότερον λόγον "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, Deu 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:" Hos 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. Psa 119:129, "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.

HINTS TO PREACHERS

Verse 129.—The wonderfulness of God's testimonies. (Psa 119:129), instanced as light giving (Psa 119:130), pantingly longed (Psa 119:131). An appeal for divine ordering in the word (Psa 119:132-135) at its rejection by others (Psa 119:136).

Outlines Upon Keywords of the Psalm, by Pastor C. A. Davis.

Verses 129-136.—In this division the Psalmist—

1. Praises God's word.

2. Shows his affection to it.

3. Prays for grace to keep it.

4. Mourns for those who do not.

Adam Clarke.

Verse 129.—The wonderful character of the word a reason for obedience. So wonderfully pure, just, balanced, elevating. So much for our own benefit, for the good of society, and for the divine glory.

Verse 129.

1. What is wonderful in God's word should be believed.

2. What is believed should be obeyed.

G. R.

Verse 129.—Thy testimonies are wonderful.

1. The facts which they record are wonderful—so wonderful, that, if the book recording them were now published for the first time, there would be no bounds to the avidity and curiosity with which it would be sought and perused.

2. The morality which they inculcate is wonderful.

3. If you turn from the morality to the doctrines of the Bible, your admiration will rather increase than diminish at the contents of the singular book.

4. These testimonies are wonderful for the style in which they are written.

5. They are wonderful for their preservation in the world.

6. They are wonderful for the effects which they have produced.

Hugh Hughes, 1838.

Verse 129.—"Thy testimonies are wonderful."

1. The ceremonial law is wonderful, because the mystery of our redemption by the blood of Christ is pointed out in it.

2. The prophecies are wonderful, as predicting things, humanly speaking, so uncertain, and at such great distance of time, with so much accuracy.

3. The decalogue is wonderful, as containing in a very few words all the principles of justice and charity.

4. Were we to go to the New Testament, here wonders rise on wonders! All is astonishing; but the Psalmist could not have had this in view.

Adam Clarke.

Verse 129. (first clause).—

1. Let us look at five of the wonders of the Bible.

(a) Its authority. It prefaces every statement with a "Thus saith the Lord."

(b) Its light.

(c) Its power—it has a convincing, awakening, drawing, life giving power.

(d) Its depth.

(e) Its universal adaptation.

2. Indicate three practical uses.

(a) Study the Bible daily.

(b) Pray for the Spirit to grave it on your heart with a pen of iron.

(c) Practise it daily.

D. Macgregor.

Verse 129.—To whom and in what respects are God's testimonies wonderful?

1. To whom? To those, and those only, who through grace do know, believe, and experience the truth and power of them for themselves.

2. In what respects wonderful, i.e., astonishingly pleasing, delightful, and profitable (see Psa 119:174).

(a) In respect of the Author and origin of them, whose they are and from whence they come.

(b) In respect of the subject matter of them, which they contain and reveal.

(c) In respect of the manner of language in which they are revealed and declared.

(d) In respect of the multitude and variety of them suited to every case.

(e) In respect of the usefulness of them, and the great benefit and advantage he received from them.

(f) In the respect of the pleasure and delight he finds in them (see Psa 119:111).

(g) In respect of the final design, intent, and end of them: viz., eternal life, salvation, and glory.

Samuel Medley, 1738-1799.

EXPOSITION VERSE 130

Verse 130.—"The entrance of thy words giveth light." No sooner do they gain admission into the soul than they enlighten it: what light may be expected from their prolonged indwelling! Their very entrance floods the mind with instruction for they are so full, so clear; but, on the other hand, there must be such an "entrance," or there will be no illumination. The mere hearing of the word with the external car is of small value by itself, but when the words of God enter into the chambers of the heart then light is scattered on all sides. The word finds no entrance into some minds because they are blocked up with self conceit, or prejudice, or indifference; but where due attention is given, divine illumination must surely follow upon a knowledge of the mind of God. Oh, that thy words, like the beams of the sun, may enter through the window of my understanding, and dispel the darkness of my mind! "It giveth understanding unto the simple." The sincere and candid are the true disciples of the word. To such it gives not only knowledge, but understanding. These simple hearted ones are frequently despised, and their simplicity has another meaning infused into it, so as to be made the theme of ridicule; but what matters it? Those whom the world dubs as fools are among the truly wise if they are taught of God. What a divine power rests in the word of God, since it not only bestows light, but gives that very mental eye by which the light is received—"It giveth understanding." Hence the value of the words of God to the simple, who cannot receive mysterious truth unless their minds are aided to see it and prepared to grasp it.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

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 Göttingen 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: Psa 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:" John 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 Thomas 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:" Psa 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.

HINTS TO PREACHERS

Verse 130.

1. The essential light of the word.

2. The dawn of it in the soul.

3. The great benefit of its advancing day.

Verse 130.

1. The source of divine light to man: "Thy words."

2. Its force. It forces an entrance into the heart.

3. Its direction: "unto the simple."

4. Its effect: "it giveth understanding."

G. R.

Verse 130.—A Bible Society Sermon.

1. Evidence from history and from personal experience that God's word has imparted the light of civilization, liberty, holiness.

2. Argument drawn from hence for the further spread of the word of God.

G. A. D.

Verse 130.—The Self evidencing Virtue of God's Word.

1. Prove it. "Entrance of thy word giveth light." If this be true, God's word is light for only light can give light. But light is self evidencing; it needs nothing to show its presence and its value but itself; so the word of God, shows its own truth and divinity to the believer.

(a) His conscience it; in its convictions of sin; in its peace through the atoning blood.

(b) His heart proves it; in its outgoings of love to the God, the Christ, and righteousness revealed.

(c) His experience in affliction and temptation it; in the solace and in the strength given by the word.

2. Answer an objection. "If God's word were self evidencing as light is, then everyone would acknowledge it to be truth." Answer, No; for the law holds good universal experience, that the "entrance" only of light gives light. Light cannot enter a blind man.

(a) The Scriptures teach that men by nature are blind.

(b) If all men did perceive, by merely reading and hearing the word, that it was light and truth, paradoxical as it may seem, they would not be truth.

(c) Hence the want of universal acknowledgment is an objection, but also a confirmation.

3. Show its importance.

(a) To the believer independent of church authority for his faith.

(b) He need not trouble to examine books of evidence; his faith is valid enough then.

(c) He who receives the word into his soul shall be satisfied of its truth and value.

J. F.

EXPOSITION VERSE 131

Verse 131.—"I opened my mouth, and panted." So animated was his desire that he looked into the animal world to find a picture of it. He was filled with an intense longing, and was not ashamed to describe it by a most expressive, natural, and yet singular symbol. Like a stag that has been hunted in the chase, and is hard pressed, and therefore pants for breath, so did the Psalmist pant for the entrance of God's word into his soul. Nothing else could content him. All that the world could yield him left him still panting with open mouth.

"For I longed for thy commandments." Longed to know them, longed to obey them, longed to be conformed to their spirit, longed to teach them to others. He was a servant of God, and his industrious mind longed to receive orders; he was a learner in the school of grace, and his eager spirit longed to be taught of the Lord.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

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:" Psa 81:10.

Thomas Manton.

HINTS TO PREACHERS

Verse 131.—Panting for holiness. A rare hunger; the evidence of much grace, and the pledge of glory.

EXPOSITION VERSE 132

Verse 132.—"Look thou upon me." A godly man cannot long be without prayer. During the previous verses he had been expressing his love to God's word, but here he is upon his knees again. This prayer is specially short, but exceedingly sententious, "Look thou upon me." While he stood with open mouth panting for the commandments, he besought the Lord to look upon him, and let his condition and his unexpressed longings plead for him. He desires to be known of God, and daily observed by him. He wishes also to be favoured with the divine smile which is included in the word—"look." If a look from us to God has saving efficacy in it, what may we not expect from a look from God to us. "And be merciful unto me." Christ's look at Peter was a look of mercy, and all the looks of the heavenly Father are of the same kind. If he looked in stern justice his eyes would not endure us, but looking in mercy he spares and blesses us. If God looks and sees us panting, he will not fail to be merciful to us. "As thou usest to do unto those that love thy name." Look on me as thou lookest on those who love thee; be merciful to me as thou art accustomed to be towards those who truly serve thee. There is a use and wont which God observes towards them that love him, and David craved that he might experience it. He would not have the Lord deal either better or worse with him than he was accustomed to deal with his saints—worse would not save him, better could not be. In effect he prays, "I am thy servant; treat me as you treat thy servants. I am thy child; deal with me as with a son." Especially is it clear from the context that he desired such an entering in of the word, and such a clear understanding of it as God usually gives to his own, according to the promise, "All thy children shall be taught of the Lord."

Reader, do you love the name of the Lord? Is his character most honourable in your sight? Most dear to your heart? This is a sure mark of grace, for no soul ever loved the Lord except as the result of love received from the Lord himself.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

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. Luk 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.

HINTS TO PREACHERS

Verse 132.

1. Look.

2. Love.

3. Use and wont.

Verse 132.—Fellowship with the righteous.

1. There are some who love God's name.

2. His mercy is the source of all the goodness they experience.

3. The Lord has been always accustomed to deal mercifully with them.

4. His mercy towards them should encourage us to implore mercy for ourselves.

5. We should be anxious to secure the mercy that is peculiar to them.

6. We should be content if God deals with us as he has always dealt with his people.

W. Jay.

Verse 132.—Divine use and wont.

1. God is accustomed to look upon and be merciful toward his people.

2. We are stirred up to specially desire such merciful dealings in time of affliction.

3. Love to God qualifies us for these loving looks and merciful dealings.

C. A. D.

Verse 132.—Notice,

1. The mark of true believers: "Those that love thy name."

2. God's custom of dealing with them: "Be merciful as thou usest to do."

3. Their individual and earnest solicitude: "Look thou upon me."

J. F.

EXPOSITION VERSE 133

Verse 133.—"Order my steps in thy word." This is one of the Lord's customary mercies to his chosen,—"He keepeth the feet of his saints." By his grace he enables us to put our feet step by step in the very place which his word ordains. This prayer seeks a very choice favour, namely, that every distinct act, every step, might be arranged and governed by the will of God. This does not stop short of perfect holiness, neither will the believer's desires be satisfied with anything beneath that blessed consummation. "And let not any iniquity have dominion over me." This is the negative side of the blessing. We ask to do all that is right, and to fall under the power of nothing that is wrong. God is our sovereign, and we would have every thought in subjection to his sway. Believers have no choice, darling sins to which they would be willing to bow. They pant for perfect liberty from the power of evil, and being conscious that they cannot obtain it of themselves, they cry unto God for it.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 133.—"Order my steps in thy word." As before he sought mercy, so now he seekers grace. There are many that seek mercy to forgive sin, who seek not grace to deliver them from the power of sin: this is to abuse God's mercy, and turn his grace into wantonness. He that prayeth for mercy to forgive the guilt of sin only, seeks not that by sin he should not offend God; but that he may sin and not hurt himself: but he who craves deliverance also from the commanding power and deceit of sin, seeks not only a benefit to himself, but grace also to please and serve the Lord his God. The first is but a lover of himself; the second is a lover of God, more than of himself. And truly he never knew what it was to seek mercy for sin past, who with it also earnestly sought not grace to keep him from sin in time to come. These benefits cannot be divided: he who hath not the second whosoever he flatter himself may be assured that he hath not gotten the first.

William Cowper.

Verse 133.—"Order my steps in thy word." It is written of Boleslaus, one of the kings of Poland, that he still carries about him the picture of his father, and when he was to do any great work or set upon any design extraordinary, he would look on the picture and pray that he might do nothing unworthy of such a father's name. Thus it is that the Scriptures are the picture of God's will, therein drawn out to the very life. Before a man enter upon or engage himself in any business whatsoever, let him look there, and read there what is to be done; what to be undone; and what God commands, let that be done; what he forbids, let that be undone; let the balance of the sanctuary weigh all, the oracles of God decide all, the rule of God's word be the square of all, and his glory the ultimate of all intendments whatsoever.

From Spencer's "Things New and Old"

Verse 133.—"Order my steps." הכן hachen, make them firm; let me not walk with a halting or unsteady step.

Adam Clarke.

Verse 133.—"Order my steps," etc. The people of God would not only have their path right, but their steps ordered; as not their general course wrong (as those who walk in the way of everlasting perdition), so not a step awry; they would not miss the way to heaven, either in whole or in part.

Thomas Manton.

Verse 133.—"My steps." Speaking of the steps of the Temple, Bunyan says, "These steps, whether cedar, gold, or stone, yet that which added to their adornment, was the wonderment of a Queen. And whatever they were made of, to be sure, they were a shadow of those steps, which we should take to, and in the house of God. 'Steps of God' Psa 85:13. 'Steps ordered by him,' Psa 37:23. 'Steps ordered in his word,' Psa 119:133. 'Steps of faith,' Rom 4:12. 'Steps of the spirit,' 2Co 11:18. 'Steps of truth,' 3Jo 1:4. 'Steps washed with butter,' Job 29:6. 'Steps taken before, or in the presence of God.' 'Steps butted and bounded by a divine rule.' These are steps indeed."

John Bunyan, in "Solomon's Temple Spiritualized"

Verse 133.—"Let not any iniquity," etc. True obedience to God is inconsistent with the dominion of any one lust, or corrupt affection. I say, though a man out of some slender and insufficient touch of religion upon his heart, may go right for a while, and do many things gladly; yet that corruption which is indulged, and under the power of which a man lieth, will at length draw him off from God; and therefore no one sin shall have dominion over us. When doth sin reign, or have dominion over us? When we do not endeavour to mortify it, and to cut off the provisions that may feed that lust. Chrysostom's observation is, the apostle does not say, let it not tyrannize over you, but, let it not reign over you; that is, when you suffer it to have a quiet reign in your hearts.

Thomas Manton.

Verse 133.—"Let not any iniquity have dominion over me." I had rather be a prisoner to man all my life than be a bondage to sin one day. He says not, Let not this and the other man rule over me; but "let not sin have dominion over me." Well said! There is hope in such a man's condition as long as it is so.

Michael Bruce, 1666.

HINTS TO PREACHERS

Verse 133.

1. A holy life is no work of chance, it is a masterpiece of order—the order of conformity to the prescribed rule; there is arithmetical and geometrical order; the proportional order; the order of relation; an order of period: holiness, as to its order, is seasonable, suitable.

2. The rule of this order: "in thy word."

3. The director chosen.

—See "Spurgeon's Sermons," No. 878; "A Well Ordered Life."

Verse 133.

1. Order in outward life desired.

2. Order according to the divine idea.

3. Order in the government within.

Verse 133.

1. Help needed.

(a) To avoid sin.

(b) To be holy.

2. Help sought.

(a) From below: "thy word."

(b) From above: "order," etc., and "let not," etc.

G. R.

Verse 133.—Sin's sway in the soul.

1. Fervently deprecated.

(a) Realization of the horrors of its rule.

(b) Recognition of the better power.

(c) Thorough exclusion sought.

2. Wisely combated.

(a) Practicalness as well as prayerfulness.

(b) Regard had to little "steps."

3. Steps to be governed by divine rule.

4. System not trusted apart from God.

W. B. H.

Verse 133.—Notice,

1. The right path for human feet: "In thy word."

2. The needed help to control the steps: "Order my steps."

3. The perverting power of a dominant sin: "Let not any," etc.

J. F.

EXPOSITION VERSE 134

Verse 134.—"Deliver me from the oppression of man." David had tasted all the bitterness of this great evil. It had made him an exile from his country, and banished him from the sanctuary of the Lord: therefore he pleads to be saved from it. It is said that oppression makes a wise man mad, and no doubt it has made many a righteous man sinful. Oppression is in itself wicked, and it drives men to wickedness. We little know how much of our virtue is due to our liberty; if we had been in bonds under haughty tyrants we might have yielded to them, and instead of being confessors we might now have been apostates. He who taught us to pray, "Lead us not into temptation, "will sanction this prayer, which is of much the same tenor, since to be oppressed is to be tempted. "So will I keep thy statutes." When the stress of oppression was taken off he would go his own way, and that way would be the way of the Lord. Although we ought not to yield to the threatenings of men, yet many do so; the wife is sometimes compelled by the oppression of her husband to act against her conscience: children and servants, and even whole nations have been brought into the same difficulty. Their sins will be largely laid at the oppressor's door, and it usually pleases God ere long to overthrow these powers and dominions which compel men to do evil. The worst of it is that some persons, when the pressure is taken off from them, follow after unrighteousness of their own accord. These give evidence of being sinners in grain. As for the righteous, it happens to them as it did to the apostles of old, "Being let go, they went to their own company." When saints are freed from the tyrant they joyfully pay homage to their king.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 134.—"Deliver me from the oppression of man."

1. "Man" by way of distinction. There is the oppression and tyranny of the Devil and sin; but the Psalmist doth not mean that now: Heminum non daemonum, saith Hugo.

2. "Man" by way of aggravation. Homo homini lupus: no creatures so ravenous and destructive to one another as man. It is a shame that one man should oppress another. Beasts do not usually devour those of the same kind; but, usually, a man's enemies are those of his own household: Mat 10:36. The nearer we are in bonds of alliance, the greater the hatred.

3. "Man" by way of diminution. And to lessen the fear of this evil, this term Adam is given them, to show their weakness in comparison of God. Thou art God; but they that are so ready and forward to oppress and injure us are but men; thou canst easily overrule their power and break the yoke. I think this consideration chiefest, because of other places. "Who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; and forgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?" Isa 51:12-13.

Thomas Manton.

Verse 134.—"From the oppression of man." Some render it, "from the oppression of Adam;" as Jarchi observes; and Arama interprets it of the sin of Adam, and as a prayer to be delivered or redeemed from it; as the Lord's people are by the blood of Christ.

John Gill.

HINTS TO PREACHERS

Verse 134.—What sins may be produced by oppression. What obedience ought to come from those who are set free.

Verse 134.

1. The course to he pursued: "thy precepts."

2. The opposition to that course: "the oppression of men."

(a) Human opinions.

(b) Human examples.

3. Human sympathies.

4. Interests.

5. Persecutions.

6. The resistance to that opposition: "Deliver me, so will I," etc.

G. R.

Verse 134.—Hindrances removed.

1. The impeding influence of persecution.

2. The prayer of the persecuted one.

3. The conduct of the delivered one (Luk 1:74-75).

G. A. D.

Verse 134.

1. How some men oppress their fellows.

By the laws they make—as statesmen.

By the books they write—as authors.

By the tyranny they exercise—as masters.

By the lives they live—as professors.

By the sermons they deliver—as ministers!

2. How the prayer of the oppressed may be answered.

By the gift of wise and good statesmen.

By increase of sound literature.

By the conversion or removal of hard masters.

By a baptism of the Spirit on the church.

W. W.

EXPOSITION VERSE 135

Verse 135.—"Make thy face to shine upon thy servant." Oppressors frown, but do thou smile. They darken my life, but do thou shine upon me, and all will be bright. The Psalmist again declares that he is God's servant, and he seeks for no favour from others, but only from his own Lord and Master. "And teach me thy statutes." This is the favour which he considers to be the shining of the face of God upon him. If the Lord will be exceeding gracious, and make him his favourite, he will ask no higher blessing than still to be taught the royal statutes. See how he craves after holiness; this is the choicest of all gems in his esteem. As we say among men that a good education is a great fortune, so to be taught of the Lord is a gift of special grace. The most favoured believer needs teaching; even when he walks in the light of God's countenance he has still to be taught the divine statutes or he will transgress.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 135.—"Make thy face to shine upon thy servant." The face of God shines upon us, when, in his providence, we are guided and upheld; also when we are made to share in the good things of his providence, and when we are placed in a position wherein we can do much good. Much more does the face of God shine upon us, when we are favoured with tokens of his gracious favour; for then we grow under the consciousness of a loving God, with rich supplies of his grace and Spirit.

John Stephen.

Verse 135.—"Make thy face to shine upon thy servant." Oftentimes the wrongful dealings of men, of others, and of ourselves, like a cloud of smoke arising from the earth and obscuring the face of the sun, hide from us for a while the light, of the countenance of God: but he soon clears it all away, and looks down upon us in loving mercy as before, lighting for us the path of obedience, and brightening our way unto himself.

—"Plain Commentary," 1859.

Verse 135.—"Make thy face to shine upon thy servant." The believer's incessant cry is, Let me see "the King's face." This is a blessing worth praying for. It is his heart's desire, his present privilege, and what is infinitely better, his sure, everlasting prospect—"They shall see his face." Rev 22:4.

Charles Bridges.

Verse 135.—"Make thy face to shine… and teach me." Blessed is the man whom eternal Truth teacheth, not by obscure figures and transient sounds, but by direct and full communication. The perceptions of our senses are narrow and dull, and our reason on those perceptions frequently misleads us. He whom the eternal Word condescends to teach is disengaged at once from the labyrinth of human opinions. For "of one word are all things;" and all things without voice or language speak of him alone: he is that divine principle which speaketh in our hearts, and without which there can be neither just apprehension nor rectitude of judgment.

O God, who art the truth, make me one with thee in everlasting life! I am often weary of reading, and weary of hearing; in thee alone is the sum of my desire! Let all teachers be silent, let the whole creation be dumb before thee, and do thou only speak unto my soul!

Thy ministers can pronounce the words, but cannot impart the spirit; they may entertain the fancy with the charms of eloquence, but if thou art silent they do not inflame the heart. They administer the letter, but thou openest the sense; they utter the mystery, but you reveal its meaning; they point out the way of life, but you bestow strength to walk in it; they water, but thou givest the increase. Therefore do thou, O Lord, my God, Eternal Truth! speak to my soul! lest, being outwardly warmed, but not inwardly quickened, I die, and be found unfruitful. "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth." "Thou only hast the words of eternal life."

Thomas a Kempis, 1380-1471.

Verse 135.—"Make thy face to shine…teach me," etc. God hath many ways of teaching; he teaches by book, he teaches by his fingers, he teaches by his rod; but his most comfortable and effectual teaching is by the light of his eye: "O send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me: let them bring me unto thy holy hill:" Psa 42:3.

Richard Alleine (1611-1681), in "Heaven Opened"

Verse 135.—"Make thy face to shine… teach me thy statutes." God's children, when they beg comfort, also beg grace to serve him acceptably. For by teaching God's statutes is not meant barely a giving speculative knowledge of God's will; for so David here; "Make thy face to shine;" and "Teach me thy statutes."

Thomas Manton.

HINTS TO PREACHERS

Verse 135.

1. A choice position: "thy servant."

2. A choice delight: "thy face to shine."

3. A choice privilege: "teach me thy statutes."

Verse 135.

1. God in the word: "Thy word."

2. God for the word: "Teach me," etc.

3. God with the word: "Make thy face," etc.

G. R.

Verse 135.—Sunshine.

1. The light in which we can best learn our lessons—God's favour shown in pardon, justification, adoption, assurance, etc.

2. The lessons we should learn in the light—grace is productive of holiness.

C. A. D.

Verse 135.

1. A rich historic promise (Num 6:25). Its sublime origin and associations.

2. The new prayer born of it.

(a) Looks up for the face Divine; the same in its majestic sweetness that has watched generations decay since the word was first spoken.

(b) Asks to know its shining. Light of fatherhood, etc.

3. The old prayer repeated: "Teach me thy statutes." Last time in the psalm.

(a) Our need of teaching—oft repeated prayer.

(b) The intimate connection between obedience and the shining of God's face.

W. B. H.

EXPOSITION VERSE 136

Verse 136.—"Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law." He wept in sympathy with God to see the holy law despised and broken. He wept in pity for men who were thus drawing down upon themselves the fiery wrath of God. His grief was such that he could scarcely give it vent; his tears were not mere drops of sorrow, but torrents of woe. In this he became like the Lord Jesus, who beheld the city, and wept over it; and like unto Jehovah himself, who hath no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, but that be turn unto him and live. The experience of this verse indicates a great advance upon anything we have had before: the psalm and the Psalmist are both growing. That man is a ripe believer who sorrows because of the sins of others. In Psa 119:120 his flesh trembled at the presence of God, and here it seems to melt and flow away in floods of tears. None are so affected by heavenly things as those who are much in the study of the word, and are thereby taught the truth and essence of things. Carnal men are afraid of brute force, and weep over losses and crosses; but spiritual men feel a holy fear of the Lord himself, and most of all lament when they see dishonour cast upon his holy name.

Lord, let me weep for nought but sin,
   And after none but thee,
And then I would, O that I might!
   A constant weeper be.

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 136.—"Rivers of waters run down my eyes." Most of the easterners shed tears much more copiously than the people of Europe. The psalmist said rivers of waters ran down his eyes; and though the language is beautifully figurative, I have no doubt it was also literally true. I have myself seen Arabs shed tears like streams.

John Gadsby.

Verse 136.—"Rivers of waters run down mine eyes," etc. Either because mine eyes keep not thy law, so some. The eye is the inlet and outlet of a great deal of sin, and therefore it ought to be a weeping eye. Or rather, they, i.e., those about me: Psa 119:139. Note, the sins of sinners are the sorrows of saints. We must mourn for that which we cannot mend.

Matthew Henry.

Verse 136.—"Rivers of waters run down mine eyes," etc. David's afflictions drew not so many tears from him as the sins of others; not his banishment by his son, as the breach of God's law by the wicked. Nothing went so to his heart as the dishonour of God, whose glory shining in his word and ordinances, is dearer to the godly than their lives. Elijah desired to die when he saw God so dishonoured by Ahab and Jezebel. The eye is for two things, sight and tears: if we see God dishonoured, presently our eyes should be filled with tears.

William Greenhill, 1591-1677.

Verse 136.—"Rivers of waters run down mine eyes," etc. Godly men are affected with deep sorrow for the sins of the ungodly.

Let us consider the nature of this affection.

1. It is not a stoical apathy, and affected carelessness; much less a delightful partaking with sinful practices.

2. Not a proud setting off of their own goodness, with marking the sin of others as the Pharisee did in the gospel.

3. Not the derision and mocking of the folly of men, with that "laughing philosopher:" it comes nearer to the temper of the other who wept always for it.

4. It is not a bitter, bilious anger, breaking forth into railings and reproaches, nor an upbraiding insultation.

5. Nor is it a vindictive desire of punishment, venting itself in curses and imprecations, which is the rash temper of many, but especially of the vulgar sort. The disciples' motion to Christ was far different from that way, and yet he says to them, "Ye know not of what spirit ye are." They thought they had been of Elijah's spirit, but he told them they were mistaken, and did not know of what a spirit they were in that motion. Thus heady zeal often mistakes and flatters itself. We find not here a desire of fire to come down from heaven upon the breakers of the law, but such a grief as would rather bring water to quench it, if it were falling on them. "Rivers of waters run down mine eyes."

Robert Leighton.

Verse 136.—"Rivers of waters run down mine eyes," etc. The Lord requireth this mourning bitterly for other men's sins to keep our hearts the more tender and upright; it is an act God useth to make us more careful of our own souls, to be troubled at the sins of others, at sin in a third person. It keepeth us at a great distance from temptation. This is like quenching of fire in a neighbour's house: before it comes near thee, thou runnest with thy bucket. There is no way to keep us free from the infection, so much as mourning. The soul will never agree to do that which it grieved itself to see another do. And, as it keepeth us upright, so also humble, fearful of Divine judgment, tender lest we ourselves offend, and draw down the wrath of God. He that shrugs when he seeth a snake creeping upon another, will much more be afraid when it cometh near to himself. In our own sins we have the advantage of conscience scourging the soul with remorse and shame; in bewailing the sins of others, we have only the reasons of duty and obedience. They that fight abroad out of love to valour and exploits, will certainly fight at home out of love to their own safety.

Thomas Manton.

Verse 136.—"Rivers of waters run down mine eyes," etc. Thus uniformly is the character of God's people represented—not merely as those who are free from—but as "those that sigh and cry for—all the abominations that are done it, the midst of the land:" Eze 9:4 And who does not see what an enlarged sphere still presents itself on every side for the unrestrained exercise of Christian compassion? The appalling spectacle of a world apostatized from God, of multitudes sporting with everlasting destruction—as if the God of heaven were "a man that he should lie" is surely to force "rivers of waters" from the hearts of those that are concerned his honour. What a mass of sin ascends as a cloud before the Lord, a single heart! Add the aggregate of a village—a town—a country—a world! every day—every hour—every moment. Well might the "rivers of waters" rise to an overflowing tide, ready to burst its barriers.

Charles Bridges.

Verse 136.—"Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not law."—The vices of the religious are the shame of religion: the sight this hath made the stoutest champions of Christ melt into tears. David was one of those great worthies of the world, not matchable in his time yet he weeps. Did he tear in pieces a bear like a kid? Rescue a lamb will the death of a lion? Foil a mighty giant, that had dared the whole of God? Did he like a whirlwind, bear and beat down his enemies before him; and now, does he, like a child or a woman, fall weeping? Yes, had heard the name of God blasphemed, seen his holy rites profaned, his statutes vilipended, and violence offered to the pure chastity of that virgin, religion; this resolved that valiant heart into tears: "Rivers of waters run down mine eyes."

Thomas Adams.

Verse 136.—My soul frequently spent itself in such breathings after conformity to the law of God as the one hundred and nineteenth Psalm is with throughout: "O that my ways were directed to keep thy My heart breaketh through the longing it hath to thy commands at times; incline my heart that I may keep them alway unto the end," the like. This appeared further in a fixed dislike of the least inconformity: to the law, either in myself or others. Now; albeit I was always affected with my own or others' breaches, yet this was my burden; I always that rivers of tears might run down mine eyes, because I, or transgressors, kept not God's law.

Thomas Halyburton, 1674-1712.

Verse 136.—If we grieve not for others, their sin may become Eze 4:8; 1Co 5:2.

William Nicholson.

HINTS TO PREACHERS

Verse 136.—Abundant sorrow for abounding sin. Other men's sins the saint's own sorrows. He thinks of the good God provoked, of the sinners themselves debased, of their death, and their perdition.

Verse 136.

1. Occasion of his grief: "they keep not thy law."

2. Extent of his grief: "rivers," etc. See examples in Jeremiah, Ezra, Paul, Christ himself.

3. Effect of his grief. To warn, teach, invite, and exhort them—as in his psalms.

G. R.

Verse 136.—Sacred tears.

1. The world sinning.

2. The church weeping.

3. It is time the world began to weep for itself.

C. A. D.

Verse 136.—I weep, because,

1. Of the dishonour done to the Law giver.

2. Of the injury done to the law breaker.

3. Of the wrong done to the law abiding.

"That kingly prophet, that wept so plentifully for his own offences (Psa 6:6), had yet floods of tears left to bewail his people's" (Psa 119:136).

Thomas Adams.

"Benedetti, a Franciscan monk, author of the Stabat Mater, one day was found weeping, and when asked the reason of his tears, he exclaimed, I weep because Love goes about unloved."

W. H. J. P.




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