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A SELECTION, &c.
Tuis Psalm, which is generally looked upon by expo
sitors as a preface or introduction to the rest, describes the blessedness of the righteous, consisting negatively, in their abstaining from sin ; positively, in holy meditation on the Scriptures, productive of continual growth in grace, which is beautifully represented under an image borrowed from vegetation; as is the opposite state of the unbelieving and ungodly, by a comparison taken from the threshing floor. The last two verses foretell the final issue of things, with respect to both good and bad men, at the great day.
VER. 1. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
The Psalter, like the Sermon on the mount, opens with a beatitude, for our comfort and encouragement, directing us immediately to that happiness which all
mankind, in different ways, are seeking and inquiring after. All would secure themselves from the incursions of misery; but all do not consider that misery is the offspring of sin, from which it is therefore necessary to be delivered and preserved, in order to become happy, or blessed. The variety of expressions, here used by David, intimates to us, that there is a gradation in wickedness; and that he who would not persist in evil courses, or commence a scoffer at the mystery of godliness, must have no fellowship with bad men ; since it is impossible for any one, who forsakes the right path, to say, whither he shall wander; and few, when they begin to walk in the counsel of the ungodly, propose finally to sit down in the seat of the scornful. O thou second Adam, who alone, since the transgression of the first, hast attained a sinless perfection, make thy servants blessed, by making them righteous, through thy merits and grace!
2. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
He who has once brought himself to delight in the Scriptures, will find no temptation to exchange that pleasure, for any which the world or the flesh can offer him. Such a one will make the lively oracles of God his companions by day and by night. He will have recourse to them for direction, in the bright and cheerful hours of prosperity ; to them he will apply for comfort, in the dark and dreary seasons of adversity. The enemy, when advancing to the assault, will always find him well employed, and will be received with-Get thee behind me, Satan!" When the law
of God is the object of our studies and meditations, we are conformed to the example of our Redeemer himself, who, as a man, while he “increased in stature,” increased, likewise, “in wisdom," and grew powerful in the knowledge of the law which he was to fulfil, and of those prophecies which he was 10 accomplish ; so that, at twelve years of age, he appeared to.“ have more understanding than all his teachers ; for the divine testimonies had been his meditation.”
3. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season ; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth, shall pirosper.
By continual meditation in the sacred writings, a man as naturally improves and advances in holiness, as a tree thrives and flourishes in a kindly and wellwatered soil. All the fruits of righteousness show themselves at their proper season, as opportunity calls for them; and his words, which are to his actions what the leaves are to the fruit, fall not to the ground; but are profitable, as well as ornamental. Every thing in him and about him serves the purpose for which it was intended ; his brethren are benefited by him, and his Maker is glorified.
4. The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaf; which the wind driveth away.
In the foregoing description of the righteous, all appeared verdant and fruitful, lovely and enduring; but here, by way of contrast, we are presented with nothing but what is withered and worthless, without form or stability, blown about by every wind, and at length finally dispersed from the face of the earth, by