Verse 17. "Because I was not cut off " - "O, why can I not draw darkness over my face? Why may not thick darkness cover my face?" Mr. Good.
This verse should be read in connection with the preceding; and then we shall have the following sense. Ver. 16: "The Lord hath beaten down my strength, and my soul has been terrified by his fear." Ver. 17: "For it is not this deep night in which I am enveloped, nor the evils which I suffer, that have overwhelmed me; I sink only through the fear which the presence of his Majesty inspires. This is my greatest affliction; sufferings, diseases, yea, death itself, are nothing in comparison of the terror which my soul feels in the presence of his tremendous holiness and justice." NOTHING can humble a pious mind so much as Scriptural apprehensions of the majesty of God. It is easy to contemplate his goodness, loving-kindness, and mercy; in all these we have an interest, and from them we expect the greatest good: but to consider his holiness and justice, the infinite righteousness of his nature, under the conviction that we have sinned, and broken the laws prescribed by his sovereign Majesty, and to feel ourselves brought as into the presence of his judgment- seat, - who can bear the thought? If cherubim and seraphim veil their faces before his throne, and the holiest soul exclaims, I loathe myself when God I see, And into nothing fall; what must a sinner feel, whose conscience is not yet purged from dead works and who feels the wrath of God abiding on him? And how without such a mediator and sacrifice as Jesus Christ is, can any human spirit come into the presence of its Judge? Those who can approach him without terror, know little of his justice and nothing of their sin. When we approach him in prayer, or in any ordinance, should we not feel more reverence than we generally do?