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Israel, (to praise God in his holiness, or in his sanctuary): that is, to praise him for that infinite and unequalled mercy, of erecting his sanctuary, his tabernacle, his ark, his mercy-seat among the Israelites; and thereby making Jerusalem the place of bis dwelling. For God dwelt in that place, the city of Jerusalem, as in the heaven of his habitation. Hence other prophets call that people “the heavens," and the place of the habitation, of the name, and of the word of God. Because the presence, the power, and the majesty of God are there, wbere he manifests himself forth by his acts and his wonderful works.
The Psalmist then mentions many musical instraments, wbich were used by the people of Israel in their worship, according to the appointed ceremonies of the Levitical worship and priesthood. But among Christians and the people of the New Testament, the trumpet, psaltery, the harp, the timbrels, are the gospel itself in the ministration of the word.
I WOULD, in conclusion, have all godly souls (whom Satan, without ceasing, harasses with temptations,) to bear in mind that all the laudatory Psalms, or Psalms of thanksgiving, are also promises of God, designed to lift up, to sustain, and to refresh af. flicted consciences, and to furnish them with arguments against the devil; assuring them that God is the God of peace, of life, of consolation, and not the God of misery, cruelty, and damnation. For when David and other saints thus joyfully, and with all possible abundance of expression, praise God, they thereby show forth unto all the afflicted, that God never forsakes his own in their temptations, but pities all such ; and that he gives them breathingtimes in their conflicts, succours them in their distresses, beholds their contrite hearts, gives them in due time an end of their afflictions, delivers them from all evils, and oft-times most sweetly and marvellously comforts them.
Wherefore, every thanksgiving in the Psalms, is at the same time, a promise of grace, and a sweet doctrine to the tempted and the afflicted : because thereby is shown, by the example of David and of others, that God regardeth the afflicted, heareth all that call upon him, and giveth peace unto them in all the various afflictions under which they labour.
Learn thou well then how to gather, throughout the book of Psalms, the blessed argument against
the devil, contained in the words,“ PRAISE YE THE Lorņ!” It was this that comforted David himself while praising God: for they are not the dead that praise the Lord, nor they that are swallowed up of sorrow, nor they that go down into hell!
As therefore God ceaseth not, during this short od momentous life, to try and prove his church, by causing her to undergo these many and great offences, temptations, and afflictions, and these most bitter hatreds of Satan and of the word; so he will, as surely, most marvellously and excellently comfort her from heaven, and deliver her, and save her!
All, therefore, that believe, how many soever they be, and how many or great soever their afflictions, are ever lifted up by the consolations of God. And hence God will comfort us also, and all saints; and he will open our mouths to praise him; that Satan may be confounded in all his devices and in all his works, and that Jesus Christ, the Lord oor God, may be glorified ! who, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth, One God, blessed for evermore. Amen.
TO THE GODLY READER, GREETING.
Behold, we here present unto thee, good Reader, the summary Commentary of Doctor Martin Luther, collected from his mouth by those that heard him, with all possible care and diligence. We could scarcely obtain leave from the holy author to edit this commentary in his name: because he felt that many things were wanting in this extemporaneous explication, which a diligent writing down might have rendered more perfect and more clear. But as he was satisfied that the sense and substance of each Psalm were every where faithfully given, and that a very important part of the true religion was here copiously handled; he was, under these assurances, the more willing to overlook any thing that might be wanting in the way of greater correctness, and loftier language and expression.
We hope, therefore, that this our labour will not be unacceptable to the lovers of the Holy Scriptures and divine things. For they will here see how blessedly this great man opened and taught the word of God, and what his only aim and object were therein. And they will also be the better enabled to judge of the writings of others. For while others devote all their labours, pains, and aims, to thrust their books upon the world; they never, in those books, touch in the least upon those things which form the substance of the true religion! Reader, farewell! May thy soul be blessed by our labour!