Verse 22. "Bless the Lord, all his works " - Let every thing he has done be so considered as to show forth his praise.
Bless the Lord, O my soul. ] Let me never forget my obligation to his mercy; for with tender mercies and loving- kindness has he crowned me. I will therefore be thankful unto him, and speak good of his name.
ANALYSIS OF THE ONE HUNRDED AND THIRD PSALM
There are three parts in this Psalm: - I. The excordium, in which the psalmist invites his own soul to praise the Lord, ver. 1, 2.
II. The narration, being a declaration of God's benefits conferred on him and others, and the causes of those benefits, ver. 3-19.
III. The conclusion, in which he calls on all creatures to assist him in praising the Lord, ver. 20-22.
I. The exordium: - 1. Bless God. Think on the benefit, and praise the Benefactor.
2. Let the soul join in this. Let it be done heartily; lip- labour is little worth.
3. "All that is within me." Every faculty, - understanding, will, memory, judgment, affections, desires, &c.
4. "Bless Jehovah," who gave thee thy being, and all thy blessings.
5. "Forget not his benefits." Most forget their obligations both to God and man; but ingratitude, which is the source of forpetfulness, is abominable.
6. "All his benefits." Thou hast already for gotten many; forget no more. The word ylwmg gemuley, signifies, literally, retributions or recompenses, as the Vulgate has well expressed it. And of what kind are these recompenses? Invariably good for evil; nor hast thou ever offered him one accent of praise that he has not compensated with a blessing of infinite value.
II. The narration. A declaration of benefits. 1. To himself. 2. To the Church. These were, - 1. Spiritual; 2. Temporal benefits.
First spiritual benefit-justification: "He forgiveth all thine iniquities." Second spiritual benefit-regeneration or sanctification: "Healeth all thy diseases." Third spiritual benefit-redemption from the first and second death, in consequence of being thus justified and sanctified.
Fourth spiritual benefit-glorification anticipated: "Who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercy." The crown comes from the loving-kindness and tender mercy of God; not from any merit in man.
The temporal benefits are: - 1. Abundance of the necessaries of life: "Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things." 2. Health and long life: "Thy youth is renewed like the eagle's." See the note on this passage.
The benefits to the whole Church are: - 1. Defence and deliverance: "The Lord executes judgment." 2. Manifestation of his will: "He made known his ways," &c.
All these spring from the four attributes mentioned below: - 1. "He is merciful," µwjr rachum, bearing a paternal affection to his intelligent creatures, especially to those who fear him.
2. "Gracious," wnj channun, the Giver of grace and favour; for he who has a fatherly heart will give.
3. "Slow to anger," µypa ūra erech appayim, long in nostrils, not hasty; not apt to be angry.
4. "Plenteous in mercy," dsj br rab chesed, multiplying kindness.
Gives abundantly from his own bounty, not according to our merit.
The effects of all these are: - 1. Because he is merciful: "He will not always chide." 2. Because he is gracious: "He deals not with us after our sin." 3. Because he is slow to anger: "He will not keep his anger forever." 4. Because he is plenteous in mercies: His mercies surpass our sins as much as heaven surpasses the earth.
5. Because he is like a father: He "pities his children;" considers their frame, and makes all the allowance that justice mingled with mercy can make.
6. And as he is righteous-true, and faithful in performing his covenant, his mercy is everlasting to those that fear him.
But let it be remembered who they are that have a right to expect such blessings: - 1. "Those who fear him." 2. "Those who keep his covenant." 3. "Those who remember his commandments, and do them." That he is able to do all that he has promised, the psalmist marks his dominion: - 1. It is not circumscribed: "His throne is in heaven." 2. It takes in all places and all nations. For "his kingdom ruleth over all;" he is King of kings, and Lord of lords.
III. The conclusion. For these benefits he invites all creatures to praise the Lord.
1. The angels, whom he describes, - 1. From their excellence: "Ye that excel in strength." 2. From their obedience: "Ye that do his commandments." 3. From their readiness and cheerfulness in it: "Ye that hearken to the voice of his words," - who are ever ready, at the slightest intimation, to perform his will.
2. All the hosts or armies of God, - archangels, principalities, dominions, powers, thrones, &c.
3. He invites all the creatures of God to praise him, whether animate or inanimate: "All creatures, in all places of his dominion." This extends throughout immensity. For this there is the strongest reason-he made all-rules over all-"is in all places" with all-preserves all-moves all.
4. To show that he who calls upon others will not be backward himself to praise God; as he began, so he concludes, with "Bless the Lord, O my soul!" Thus he had the high praises of God continually in his mouth.
And thus finishes this most excellent and inimitable Psalm. The old Psalter concludes thus: "Blysses to Lorde al his werks in ilk stede of his Lordschip: blisse my saule to Lorde. When men well lyfes, al thair werks blysses God. Fra blyssyng we cum forth to blyssyngs, gawe agayne, and tharein dwell we." The more we praise God, the more occasion we shall see to praise him, and the more spiritually minded we shall become. Praise proceeds from gratitude; gratitude from a sense of obligation; and both praise and gratitude will be in proportion to the weight of that obligation; and the weight will be in proportion to the sense we have of God's great goodness and our own unworthiness. As the reader's heart may be in a heavenly frame, I shall help him to express his feelings by the following inimitable verses, which express the substanee of the preceding Psalm: - From all that dwell below the skies Let the Creator's praise arise! Let the Redeemer's grace be sung In every land, by every tongue! Eternal are thy mercies, Lord! Eternal truth attends thy word! Thy praise shall sound from shore to shore, Till sun shall rise and set no more.
Praise GOD, from whom all blessings flow! Praise Him, all creatures here below! Praise Him above, ye heavenly host! Praise FATHER, SON, and HOLY GHOST! Amen and Amen.