Verse 5. "For the Lord is good " - GOODNESS the perfect, eternal opposition to all badness and evil, is essential to God. Mercy and compassion are modifications of his goodness; and as his nature is eternal, so his mercy, springing from his goodness, must be everlasting. And as TRuth is an essential characteristic of an infinitely intelligent and perfect nature; therefore God's truth must endure from generation to generation.
Whatsoever he has promised must be fulfilled, through all the successive generations of men, as long as sun and moon shall last.
As this is a very important Psalm, and has long made a part of our public worship, I shall lay it before the reader in the oldest vernacular Versions I have hitherto met with, - the Anglo - Saxon and the Anglo-Scottish, with a literal interlineary translation of the former.
"The Anglo-Saxon Hundredth Psalm Rhyme ye the Lord all earth, serve the Lord in bliss; 1. Infare in sight his in blithness; 2. Wit ye, for that Lord he is God, he did us & not self we; 3. Folk his & sheep leeseway his; fare into gates his in confession, into courts is in hymns confess him. 4. Praise name his, for that winsom is; Lord thro' eternity mildheartedness his, & unto on kindred & kindred sothfastnes his 5. The reader will see that, in order to make this translation as literal as possible, I have preserved some old English words which we had from the Anglo-Saxon, and which have nearly become obsolete: e.g., Infare, "to go in;" blithness, "joy, exultation;" twit ye, "know ye;" did, the preterite of to do, "made, created," the literal translation of the Hebrew, h[ asah, he made; leeseway, "pasturage on a common;" winsom, "cheerful, merry;" mildheartedness, "tenderness of heart, compassion;" sothfastness, "steady to the sooth or truth, fast to truth." I might have noticed some various readings in Anglo-Saxon MSS.; e.g., ver. 1. for [A.S.] idrymeth, "rhyme ye;" [A.S.] - winsumiath, "be winsom, be joyful." And ver. 5, for [A.S.] winsom, "cheerful;" [A.S.], stoete, "sweet." Anglo-Scottish Version of the Hundredth Psalm 1. "Joyes to God al the erth; serves to Lord in gladnes." 2. "Enters in his sight with joying." 3. "Wittes for Lorde he is God; he made us and noght we; 4. "Folke of hym, and schepe of his pasture; enters the gates of hym in schrift; hys Halles in ympnys; schryves to hym." 5. "Loues his name, for soft is Lorde; withouten end in his mercy; and in generation and generation the sothfastnes of hym." Thus our forefathers said and sung in heart and mouth and with their tongues made confession to salvation. There are but few words here which require explanation: Ver. 3, Wittes, "wot ye, know ye." Ver. 4, Schrift, "confession;" schryves, "confess ye." Ver. 6, Loues, "praise ye, laud ye." Sothfastness, as above, steadfastness in the truth.
ANALYSIS OF THE HUNDREDTH PSALM
There are two parts in this Psalm: -
I. An exhortation to praise God, and the manner in which it is to be done, ver. 1- 4.
II. The reasons on which this is founded, ver. 3-5.
I. In his exhortation to praise God it is required: - 1. That the praise be universal: "All ye lands." 2. That it be hearty: "Make a joyful noise." Let the soul be cheerful in the work.
3. That it be not partial nor restrained: "Make a joyful noise-serve-be glad-sing-be thankful-give praise-bless his name." The various expressions show the completeness of this blessed word.
4. That it be sincere-done in his presence.
5. That it be an intelligent service: "Know ye." 6. That it be frequent and public: "Enter his gates-go into his courts." 7. That gratitude shall be a part of it: "With thanksgiving."
II. The reasons on which this is grounded; they are: - 1. Drawn from the nature of God: "Know ye that Jehovah is Elohim," the true God; therefore, alone worthy to be worshipped.
2. Drawn from the benefits bestowed on us:
1. "He has made us" - capable of knowing him, and being eternally happy with him. 2. He has called upon us by his grace to be "his people, and the sheep of his pasture." He both governs and feeds us.
And that we may be the more cheerful in this work he puts us in mind of the Divine attributes engaged in our redemption, goodness, mercy, and truth.
1. "He is good." This is his very nature.
2. "He is merciful." This flows from his goodness.
3. "He is true;" keeping covenant for ever with them that fear him; and fulfilling all his promises to the believing and obedient.
And that we may have the more confidence, 1. "His mercy is everlasting." It continues through all the changes and chances of this life to them who trust in him; and extends through all the generations of men.
2. His truth is like his mercy, it is pledged to fulfill his promises. "God is not man that he should lie;" he has promised, and will save to the uttermost all who come to him through Christ Jesus: "Be therefore thankful to him, and speak good of his name."