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Psalm 16:11

11. Thou wilt make me to know the path of life; fullness of joy is in thy countenance, pleasures are at thy right hand for evermore.

 

The Psalmist confirms the statement made in the preceding verse, and explains the way in which God will exempt him from the bondage of death, namely, by conducting and bringing him at length safely to the possession of eternal life. Whence we again learn what I have already observed, that this passage touches upon the difference which there is between true believers and aliens, or reprobates, with respect to their everlasting state. It is a mere cavil to say, that when David here speaks of the path of life being shown to him, it means the prolongation of his natural life. It is to form a very low estimate, indeed, of the grace of God to speak of him as a guide to his people in the path of life only for a very few years in this world. In this case, they would differ nothing from the reprobate, who enjoy the light of the sun in common with them. If, therefore, it is the special grace of God which he communicates to none but his own children, that David here magnifies and exalts, the showing of the way of life, of which he speaks, must undoubtedly be viewed as extending to a blessed immortality; and, indeed, he only knows the way of life who is so united to God that he lives in God, and cannot live without him.

David next adds, that when God is reconciled to us, we have all things which are necessary to perfect happiness. The phrase, the countenance of God, may be understood either of our being beheld by him, or of our beholding him; but I consider both these ideas as included, for his fatherly favor, which he displays in looking upon us with a serene countenance, precedes this joy, and is the first cause of it, and yet this does not cheer us until, on our part, we behold it shining upon us. By this clause David also intended distinctly to express to whom those pleasures belong, of which God has in his hand a full and an overflowing abundance. As there are with God pleasures sufficient to replenish and satisfy the whole world, whence comes it to pass that a dismal and deadly darkness envelopes the greater part of mankind, but because God does not look upon all men equally with his friendly and fatherly countenance, nor opens the eyes of all men to seek the matter of their joy in him, and no where else? Fulness of joy is contrasted with the evanescent allurements and pleasures of this transitory world, which, after having diverted their miserable votaries for a time, leave them at length unsatisfied, famished, and disappointed. They may intoxicate and glut themselves with pleasures to the greatest excess, but, instead of being satisfied, they rather become wearied of them through loathing; and, besides, the pleasures of this world vanish away like dreams. David, therefore, testifies that true and solid joy in which the minds of men may rest will never be found any where else but in God; and that, therefore, none but the faithful, who are contented with his grace alone, can be truly and perfectly happy.

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