on Psalms 52 :9
I will praise thee for ever - Because I know that all my good comes from thee; therefore, will I ever praise thee for that good.
I will wait on thy name - I will expect all my blessings from the all-sufficient Jehovah, who is eternal and unchangeable.
It is good before thy saints - It is right that I should expect a continuation of thy blessings by uniting with thy saints in using thy ordinances. Thus I shall wait.
on Psalms 52 :9
I will praise thee forever, beause thou hast done it - Because thou art the source of my safety. The fact that I have been delivered from the designs of Saul, and saved from the efforts of Doeg to betray me, is to be traced wholly to thee. It has been ordered by thy providence that the purposes alike of Doeg and of Saul have been defeated, and I am still safe.
And I will wait on thy name - That is, I will wait on "thee;" the name being often put for the person himself: Psalm 20:1; Psalm 69:30; Proverbs 18:10; Isaiah 59:19. The language used here means that he would trust in God, or confide in him. All his expectation and hope would be in him. There are two ideas essentially in the language:
(1) the expression of a sense of "dependence" on God, as if the only ground of trust was in him;
(2) a willingness to "await" his interposition at all times; a belief that, however long such an interposition might be delayed, God "would" interfere at the proper time to bring deliverance; and a purpose calmly and patiently to look to him until the time of deliverance should come. Compare Psalm 25:3, Psalm 25:5,Psalm 25:21; Psalm 27:14; Psalm 37:7, Psalm 37:9,Psalm 37:34; Psalm 69:3; Isaiah 8:17; Isaiah 40:31.
For it is good before thy saints - God is good; and I will confess it before his "saints." His mercy has been so marked, that a public acknowledgment of it is proper; and before his assembled people I will declare what he has done for me. So signal an act of mercy, an interposition so suited to illustrate the character of God, demands more than a private acknowledgment, and I will render him public praise. The same idea occurs in Psalm 22:25; Psalm 35:18; Psalm 111:1; Isaiah 38:20. The general thought is, that for great and special mercies it is proper to render special praise to God before his assembled people. It is not that we are to obtrude our private affairs upon the public eye or the public ear; it is not that mercies shown to us have any particular claim to the attention of our fellow-men, but it is that such interpositions illustrate the character of God, and that they may constitute an argument before the world in favor of his benevolent and merciful character. Among the "saints" there is a common bond of union - a common interest in all that pertains to each other; and when special mercy is shown to anyone of the great brotherhood, it is proper that all should join in the thanksgiving, and render praise to God.
The importance of the subject considered in this psalm - the fact that it is not often referred to in books on moral science, or even in sermons, - and the fact that it involves many points of practical difficulty in the conversation between man and man in the various relations of life - may justify at the close of an exposition of this psalm a consideration of the general question about the morality of giving "information," or, in general, the character of the "informer." Such a departure from the usual method adopted in works designed to be expository would not be ordinarily proper, since it would swell such works beyond reasonable dimensions; but perhaps it may be admitted in a single instance.
In what cases is it our duty to give information which may be in our possession about the conduct of others; and in what cases does it become a moral wrong or a crime to do it?
This is a question of much importance in respect to our own conduct, and often of much difficulty in its solution. It may not be possible to answer all the inquiries which might be made on this subject, or to lay down principles of undoubted plainness which would be applicable to every case which might occur, but a few general principles may be suggested.
The question is one which may occur at any time, and in any situation of life - Is it never right to give such information? Are we never bound to do it? Are there no circumstances in which it is proper that it should be voluntary? Are there any situations in which we are exempt by established customs or laws from giving such information? Are there any in which we are bound, by the obligations of conscience, not to give such information, whatever may be the penalty? Where and when does guilt begin or end in our volunteering to give information of the conduct or the concealments of others?
These questions often come with much perplexity before the mind of an ingenuous schoolboy, who would desire to do right, and who yet has so much honor that he desires to escape the guilt and the reproach of being a "tell-tale." They are questions which occur to a lawyer (or, rather, which "did" occur before the general principle, which I will soon advert to, had been settled by the courts), in regard to the knowledge of which he has been put in possession under the confidential relation of advocate and client. They are questions which may occur to a clergyman, either in respect to the confidential disclosures made at the confessional of the Catholic priest, or in respect to the confidential statements of the true penitent made to a Protestant pastor, in order that spiritual counsel may be obtained to give relief to a burdened conscience. They are questions which it was necessary should be settled in regard to a fugitive from justice, who seeks protection under the roof of a friend or a stranger.
They are questions respecting refugees from oppression in foreign lands - suggesting the inquiry whether they shall be welcomed, or whether there shall be any law by which they shall, on demand, be restored to the dominion of a tyrant. They are questions which the conscience will ask, and does ask, about those who make their escape from slavery, who apply to us for aid in securing their liberty, and who seek an asylum beneath our roof; questions whether the law of God requires or permits us to render any active assistance in making known the place of their refuge, and returning them to bondage. When, and in what cases, if any, is a man bound to give information in such circumstances as these? It is to be admitted that cases may occur, in regard to these questions, in which there would be great difficulty in determining what are the exact limits of duty, and writers on the subject of morals have not laid down such clear rules as would leave the mind perfectly free from doubt, or be sufficient to guide us on all these points. It will be admitted, also, that some of them are questions of much difficulty, and where instruction would be desirable.
Much may be learned, in regard to the proper estimate of human conduct among people, from the "language" which they employ - language which, in its very structure, often conveys their sentiments from age to age. The ideas of people on many of the subjects of morals, in respect to that which is honorable or dishonorable, right or wrong, manly or mean, became thus "imbedded" - I might almost say "fossilized" - in their modes of speech. Language, in its very structure, thus carries down to future times the sentiments cherished in regard to the morality of actions - as the fossil remains that are beneath the surface of the earth, in the strata of the rocks, bring to us the forms of ancient types of animals, and ferns, and palms, of which there are now no living specimens on the globe. They who have studied Dean Trench's Treatise on "Words" will recollect how this idea is illustrated in that remarkable work; how, without any other information about the views of people in other times, the very "words" which they employed, and which have been transmitted to us, convey to us the estimate which was formed in past ages in regard to the moral quality of an action, as proper or improper - as honorable or dishonorable - as conformed to the noble principles of our nature, or the reverse.
As illustrating the general sentiments of mankind in this respect, I will select "two" words as specimens of many which might be selected, and as words which people have been agreed in applying to some of the acts referred to in the questions of difficulty that I have just mentioned, and which may enable us to do something in determining the morality of an action, so far as those words, in their just application to the subject, indicate the judgment of mankind.
One of these is the word "meanness" - a word which a schoolboy would be most "likely" to apply to the act of a tell-tale or an informer, and which we instinctively apply to numerous actions in more advanced periods of life, and which serves to mark the judgment of mankind in regard to certain kinds of conduct. The "idea" in such a case is not so much the "guilt" or the "criminality" of the act considered as a violation of law, as it is that of being opposed to just notions of "honor," or indicating a base, low, sordid, grovelling spirits - "lowness of mind, want of dignity and elevation; want of honor." (Webster)
on Psalms 52 :9
52:9 Thou hast - Destroyed mine and thine implacable enemies, and established me in the throne, of which I am no less assured, than if it were already done. I will continue in thy way, placing my whole confidence in thy power and goodness, and faithfulness. Before - In the presence of thy saints.