Ps. i. I — 4. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel
of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor
sitteth in the seat of the scornful : but his delight is in the
laiu of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and
night. And he shall be like a tree planted hy the rivers of
water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season : his leaf
also shall not wither ; and whatsoever he doeth shall pro-
sper. 2Vie ungodly are not so.
THE Psalms were chiefly, though not exclusively,
written by David : some were written, one at least,
many hundred years before him ; and several many
hundred years after him. It is supposed that Ezra
reduced them to the order in which they stand. We
are sure that, in the Apostle's days, the Second
Psalm occupied the same place that it does now;
because it is quoted by him as " the Second Psalm."
They are quoted continually in the ew Testament
as inspired of God : and so fully do they speak of
Christ, that an account of his life and death, his
work and offices, might be compiled from them al-
most as clearly as from the Gospels themselves.
The psalm before us seems properly placed, as a
kind of preface to the whole ; inasmuch as it con-
tains a summary description of the righteous and
the wicked, both in their character and end. We
will consider,
I. The description of the godly —
We are not to expect in a composition of this kind
VOL. IV. B a fujl
2 PSALMS, I. 1 4. [331.
a full and accurate delineation of men's characters,
such as we might look for in a set discourse : never-
theless, in the brief notices here given us, we have
what is abundantly sufficient to distinguish the saints
from all other people upon the face of the earth.
They are here described,
1 . In plain terms —
[Two things we are told concerning them, namely, JVIiat
company they affect, and, IVhat employment they delight in.
They have no pleasure in the society of ungodly men. They are
aware that " evil communications will corrupt good manners ;"
and that the surest way to avoid infection, is, to come as little as
possible in contact with those who are diseased. They see how
fatal, and yet how common, is the progress of sin ; that to walk,
however occasionally, in the counsel of the ungodly (who are.
destitute of any religious principle), is a prelude to standing in
the way of sinners (gross, open sinners), and, at last, to sittingm
the seat of the scornful, who despise and deride all true piety.
Hence, fearing lest, by unnecessarily associating with the wicked,
they should be drawn to adopt their principles, and to imitate
their conduct, they either withdraw from them altogether, or
contract their intercourse with them, as much as will consist with
a due discharge of their social and relative duties.
Privacy, and reading of the holy Scriptures, are more con-
genial with their feelings, than the noise and vanity of the world.
In the blessed word of God they see all the wonders of redeem-
ing love : in that, they find the charter, by which they are en-
titled to an everlasting inheritance. There they behold thou-
sands of exceeding great and precious promises, which are as
marrow and fatness to their souls: thfere also they see marked
out to them the way in which to please, and honour, and glorify
their God : and, by meditating on these various precepts and pro-
mises, they find their souls cast, as it were, into the very mould
of the Gospel, and gradually transformed into the image of their
God. Hence they delight to ruminate on the word of God ;
yea, " day and night" they make it their meditation and their
joy : like Job, they " esteem it more than their necessary food."]
2. By a beautiful comparison —
[In consequence of thus " eschewing evil and cleaving unto
that which is good," they become like a tree planted by the
canals in Eastern countries, which flourishes with incessant ver-
dure and fruitfulness ; whilst all that are less favourably situated,
are parched and withered by drought. The godly are " trees of
righteousness, of the Lord's planting :" their roots are con-
stantly watered by that '^ river which makes glad the city of
God :" and by the fertilizing influences of the Spirit of God
they bring forth in rich abundance " the fruits of righteousness,
which are by Jesus Christ to the praise and glory of God." A
diversity of seasons they doubtless experience: but never is their
profession tarnished by open visible decays, or by a want of such
fruits as the peculiar season calls for. On the contrary, the
winds and storms, and heats and cold, all tend to further their
stability and fruitfuln9S3 ; insomuch that " whatsoever they do,"
or whatsoever is done to them, " they prosper*." See them in
the diversified seasons of prosperity and adversity, they shew by
their conduct '' whose they are," even Christ's, " of whose ful-
ness they continually receive," and " of whom all their fruit is
In perfect contrast with this is,
II. The description of the ungodly —
Exceedingly pointed is that expression, " The
UGODLY ARE OT SO." o indeed : they " are
not so,"
1 . In their character —
[The ungodly, instead of shunning the company of those
who. fear not God, prefer it ; and would far rather associate with
an avowed infidel, or a notorious libertine, than with one who was
distinguished for the most exalted piety. They do not all pro-
ceed to the same extent of open profaneness ; but all without
exception " love darkness rather than light;" yea, " they hate
the light, and will not come to it, lest their deeds should be
And as they prefer the society of them that know not Godj so they
prefer any other book, whether of science or amusement, before
the Sacred Volume. They may study the holy Scriptures indeed
with a view to head -knowledge ; but not with any desire to im-
bibe the spirit of them in their hearts, or to have their lives con-
formed to them. In this there is an extremely broad line of
distinction between the two characters : to the godly the Scrip-
tures are " sweeter than honey, or the honeycomb ;" but to the
ungodly they are insipid, and are either not perused at all, or
studied only for the purpose of exercising a critical acumen.
There is nothing in the Sacred Volume that is suited to their-
taste : the wonders of Redemption do not affect their minds ;
nor are the precepts of the Gospel palatable to their souls. .
Would we but candidly examine ourselves by these two marks,
we should soon discover to which of these parties we belong.]
2. In their condition '^^ —
[To such a tree as has been been before described, the
* Rom. viii. 28.
^"^ or in the -" blessedness" of the saints have they any part or lot.
4 PSALMS, I. I 4. [331.
ungodly bear no resemblance : their root is fixed in the world :
their fruit is no other than *' grapes of Sodom and clusters of
Gomorrah." But there is an appropriate comparison for them
also ; " they are like the chaff which the wind driveth away."
Truly, they are as light and worthless as chaff. o solid principle
of piety is found in them ; nor is there any thing in their cha-
racter which God approves. To a superficial observer they may
appear like wheat : but the fan or sieve will soon discover how
empty and unsubstantial they are : or, if they continue mixed
with the wheat in this world, the separation will speedily and
infallibly take place in the world to come. The Judge of quick
and dead will come, even He, of whom it is said, " His fan is
in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather
the wheat into his garner ; but the chaff he will burn with un-
quenchable fire''." Amongst the wheat, not an atom of chaff
will then be found ; nor amongst the chaff, one grain of wheat *^.
This, divested of metaphor, is plainly declared in the psalm be-
fore us ; " The ungodly shall stand in the judgment, nor sinners
in the congregation of the righteous'^." Ah ! what an immense
difference is here in the conditions of the two parties ! the one
approved of their God, and made partakers of everlasting felicity j
the other, abhorred of him, and plunged into everlasting per-
1 . To young people — -
[To you it appears but a small matter whom you choose for
your associates. But, if you consider how much we are influenced
by the sentiments and examples of others, and what awful con-
sequences will follow from the conduct we pursue, we shall see
the necessity of selecting those only for our friends, who, we have
reason to believe, are the friends of God. Let not then the
rank, or talents of men, and still less their gaiety and dissipation,
attract your regards ; but let the piety of their hearts, and the
holiness of their lives, be their highest recommendation to your
friendship. As our blessed Lord " was not of the world, so nei-
ther must ye be :" but you must " come out from among them,
and be separate," and choose for your companions " the ex-
cellent of the earth, and such as excel in virtue^"]
2. To those who profess godliness —
[It is not by speculative notions that you are to judge of
your state, but by your spirit, your temper, your whole conduct
and conversation. '" The tree must Ije knovvn by its fruit."
ow, as the ungodly form a perfect contrast with the godly, so
let your spirit and conduct be a perfect contrast with theirs. Are
'' Matt. iii. 12. * Am. ix. Q. ^ ver. 5. * ver. 6.
•¦frov. iv. 14, 15. Jam. iv. 4. 2 Cor. vi, 14—17.
the ungodly following the course of this world, and minding only
the things of the flesh ? Let it be said of you, " They are not
so :" " their conversation is in heaven;" their delight is altoge-
ther in spiritual things; and " their fellowship is with the Father,
and with his Son Jesus Christ." In a word, endeavour to be as
different from the ungodly world around you, as a verdant and fruit-
ful tree is from those which are withered and dead; and know, that,
if you are looking to the Lord Jesus Christ for fresh supplies of
his t^pirit and grace, you shall receive from him such rich com-
munications as shall be abundantly sufficient for you^ ]
8 Hos. xiv. 4 — 7.

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