Verse 8. "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep " - Most men lie down, and most sleep, daily, for without rest and steep life could not be preserved; but alas! how few lie down in peace! peace with their own consciences, and peace with God! David had then two great blessings, rest by sleep, and peace in his soul. He had a happy soul; and when he lay down on his bed, his body soon enjoyed its repose, as the conscience was in peace. And he had a third blessing, a confidence that he should sleep in safety. And it was so. No fearful dreams disturbed his repose, for he had a mind tranquillized by the peace of God. As to his body, that enjoyed its due rest, for he had not overloaded nature either with dainties or superfluities. Reader, are not many of thy sleepless hours to be attributed to thy disordered soul-to a sense of guilt on thy conscience, or to a fear of death and hell? Pray incessantly till thou get the light of God's countenance, till his Spirit bear witness with thine that thou art a child of God. Then thy repose will do thee good: and even in thy sleep thy happy soul will be getting forward to heaven.
ANALYSIS OF THE FOURTH PSALM
"There are THREE parts in this Psalm: " - I. An entrance, or petition for audience, ver. 1.
II. An apostrophe to his enemies, which is, 1. Reprehensive, ver. 2, 3. 2.
Admonitory, ver. 4, 5.
III. A petition for himself and God's people, ver. 6-8.
I. He proposes his request and suit for audience. "Hear me when I call;" and this he founds on four arguments:
1. God has promised to hear me when I call: "Call upon me in trouble, and I will hear thee." I call; hear me, therefore, when I call. 2. His own innocence: "Hear me, O God of my righteousness." 3. He requests no more than what God had done for him at other times: Thou hast enlarged me in trouble, and why not now? 4. It was mercy and favour to answer him then; it will be the same to do it again: "Have mercy on me, and hear." II. His petition being thus proposed and ended, he proceeds to the doctrinal part; and, turning himself to his enemies, 1. He sharply reproves them; 2. Then warns them, and gives them good counsel.
1. He turns his speech from God to men; the chief but the worst of men. ¨ya ynb beney ish, "ye eminent men." Not plebeians, but nobles. The charge he lays to them, 1. They "turned his glory into shame." They endeavoured to dishonour him whom God had called and anointed to the kingdom. 2. "They loved vanity." A vain attempt they were in love with. 3. "They sought after falsity." They pursued that which would deceive them; they would find at last that treachery and iniquity lied to itself. 4. That this charge might have the more weight, he figures it with a stinging interrogation, How long? Their sin had malice and pertinecity in it; and he asks them how long they intended to act thus.
And that they might, if possible, be drawn from their attempts, he sends them a noverint, know ye, which has two clauses:
1. Let them know that God hath set apart him that is godly for himself. 2. That God will hear, when either he or any good man calls upon him.
2. The reproof being ended, he gives them good counsel: ] 1. That though they be angry, they ought not to let the sun go down upon their wrath.
2. That they commune with their own hearts-their conscience. That they do this on their beds, when secluded from all company, when passion and self-interest did not rule; and then they would be the better able to judge whether they were not in an error, whether their anger were not causeless, and their persecution unjust? 3. That they offer the sacrifice of righteousness-that they serve and worship God with an honest, sincere, and contrite heart.
4. That they put their trust in the Lord; trusting no more to their lies, nor loving their vanities, but relying on God's promises.
III. The third part begins with this question, Who will show us any good? 1. Who will show us that good which will make us happy? To which David, in effect, returns this answer, that it is not bona animi, intellectual gifts; nor bona fortunae, earthly blessings; nor bona corporis, corporeal endowments: but the light of God's countenance. 2. Therefore he prefers his petition: "Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us." God's countenance is his grace, his favour, his love, and the light of his countenance, the exhibition and expression of this grace, favour, and love; in which alone lies all the happiness of man. Of this David expresses two effects, gladness and security: - 1. gladness and joy far beyond that which may be had from any temporal blessings: "Thou hast put gladness in my heart more than in the time that their corn, and wine, and oil increased; gladness beyond the joy in harvest; and this joy is from the light of God's countenance. Thou Attest. THOU, by way of eminence.
2. Security, expressed under the metaphor of sleep: "I will lay me down in peace, and sleep;" just as in a time of peace, as if there were no war nor preparation for battle.
3. To which he adds the reason: "For thou Lord, alone makest me to dwell in safety." I am safe, because I enjoy the light of thy countenance.