Subject. It would be idle to enquire into the particular period when this delightful poem was composed, for their is nothing in its title or subject to assist us in the enquiry. The heading, “To the Chief Musician, a Psalm of David, “informs us that David wrote it, and that it was committed to the Master of the service of song in the sanctuary for the use of the assembled worshippers. In his earliest days the psalmist, while keeping his father’s flock, had devoted himself to the study of God’s two great books—nature and Scripture; and he had so thoroughly entered into the spirit of these two only volumes in his library that he was able with a devout criticism to compare and contrast them, magnifying the excellency of the Author as seen in both. How foolish and wicked are those who instead of accepting the two sacred tomes, and delighting to behold the same divine hand in each, spend all their wits in endeavouring to find discrepancies and contradictions. We may rest assured that the true “Vestiges of Creation” will never contradict Genesis, nor will a correct “Cosmos” be found at variance with the narrative of Moses. He is wisest who reads both the world book, and the Word book as two volumes of the same work, and feels concerning them, “My Father wrote them both.”
Division. This song very distinctly divides itself into three parts, very well described by the translators in the ordinary heading of our version. The creatures show God’s glory, Psalms 19:1-6. The word showeth his grace, Psalms 19:7-11. David prayeth for grace, Psalms 19:12-14. Thus praise and prayer are mingled, and he who here sings the work of God in the world without, pleads for a work of grace in himself within.
The Treasury of David.
There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Every man may hear the voices of the stars. Many are the languages of terrestrials, to celestials there is but one, and that one may be understood by every willing mind. The lowest heathen are without excuse, if they do not discover the invisible things of God in the works which he has made. Sun, moon, and stars are God’s travelling preachers; they are apostles upon their journey confirming those who regard the Lord, and judges on circuit condemning those who worship idols. The margin gives us another rendering, which is more literal, and involves less repetition; “no speech, no words, their voice is not heard;” that is to say, their teaching is not addressed to the ear, and is not uttered in articulate sounds; it is pictorial, and directed to the eye and heart; it touches not the sense by which faith comes, for faith cometh by hearing. Jesus Christ is called the Word, for he is a far more distinct display of Godhead than all the heavens can afford; they are, after all, but dumb instructors; neither star nor sun can arrive at a word, but Jesus is the express image of Jehovah’s person, and his name is the Word of God.
Ver. 1-4. Like as the sun with his light beneficially comforteth all the world, so Christ, the Son of God, reacheth his benefits unto all men, so that they will receive them thankfully, and not refuse them disobediently. Robert Cawdray.
There is no speech, etc. The sunset was one of the most glorious I ever beheld, and the whole earth seemed so still that the voice of neither God nor man was heard. There was not a ripple upon the waters, not the leaf of a tree, nor even of a blade of grass moving, and the rocks upon the opposite shore reflected the sun’s “after glow, “and were again themselves reflected from or in the river during the brief twilight, in a way I do not remember ever to have beheld before. No! I will not say the voice of God was not heard; it spoke in the very stillness as loud as in roaring thunder, in the placid scene as in rocks and cliffs impassable, and louder still in the heavens and in the firmament, and in the magnificent prospect around me. His wondrous works declared him to be near, and I felt as if the very ground upon which I was treading was holy. John Gadsby.
Ver. 1-5. Parallel between the heavens and the revelation of Scripture, dwelling upon Christ as the central Sun of Scripture.
The marginal reading, coupled with verse four, suggests the eloquence of an unobtrusive life—silent, yet heard.
The Treasury of David.
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