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that this is God,
our God forever and ever.
He will be our guide forever.
14. For this God is our God for ever and ever From these words it appears still more clearly, that when the prophet spake of the palaces of Jerusalem, it was not that the godly should keep their eyes fixed upon them, but that by the aid of these outward things they should elevate their minds to the contemplation of the glory of God. God would have them to behold, as it were, the marks of his grace engraven wherever they turned themselves, or rather, to recognize him as present in these marks. From this we conclude, that whatever dignity or excellence shines forth in the Church, we are not to consider it otherwise than as the means of presenting God to our view, that we may magnify and praise him in his gifts. The demonstrative pronoun זה, zeh, this, is not superfluous; it is put to distinguish the only true God, of whose existence and character the faithful were fully persuaded, from all the false gods which men have set themselves to invent. The unbelieving may boldly speak of the name of God, and prate about religion; but however much they may do this, when they are more closely questioned, it will be found that they have nothing certain or settled on the subject. Yea, the vain imaginations and inventions of those who are not grounded in the true faith must necessarily come to nothing. It is, then, the property of faith to set before us not a confused but a distinct knowledge of God, and such as may not leave us wavering, as superstition leaves its votaries, which, we know, is always introducing some new counterfeit deities and in countless numbers. We ought, therefore, so much the more to mark the emphatic demonstrative pronoun this, which is here used. We meet with an almost similar passage in the prophecies of Isaiah,
“Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation:”— Isaiah 25:9
as if the faithful had protested and declared, We have not an uncertain God, or a God of whom we have only a confused and an indistinct apprehension, but one of whom we have a true and solid knowledge. When the faithful here declare that God will continue unchangeably steadfast to his purpose in maintaining his Church, their object is to encourage and strengthen themselves to persevere in a continued course of faith. What follows immediately after, He will be our guide even unto death, seems to be added by way of exposition. In making this statement, the people of God assure themselves that he will be their guide and keeper for ever. They are not to be understood as meaning that they will be safe under the government and conduct of God in this life only, and that he will abandon them in the midst of death; but they express generally, and according to the common people’s way of speaking, 203203 “Et selon la facon de parler du commun peuple.” — Fr. what I have stated, that God will take care of all who rely upon him even to the end. What we translate, Even unto death, consists of two words in the Hebrew text, אל מות, al muth; but some read in one word, אלמות, almuth, and take it for age or eternity 204204 This is the view taken by the Septuagint, which renders it by, “Εις τους αἰωνας,” “To all eternity.” “A very large number of copies,” says Street, “both of De Rossi’s and Dr Kennicott’s collation, have עלמות in one word. Symmachus renders this expression by το διηνεκες, perpetuum.” The sense, however, will be the same whether we read the one way or the other. Others translate it childhood, 205205 As if the word were derived from, עלם elem, a young man Thus the Chaldee reads, “In the days of our youth.” See מות, in Buxton’s Lexicon. in this sense, As God has from the beginning carefully preserved and maintained his Church, even as a father brings up his children from their infancy, so he will continue to act in the same manner. The first sense, however, in my opinion, is the more appropriate. Others translate it in secret or hidden, 206206 This is the sense in which Houbigant understands אלמות, almuth; for he reads it as one word; and he is of opinion that it belongs to the title of the following psalm, to which, he says, אלמות, hidden, agrees very well, as an enigma is set forth in that psalm. Others, who read אל מות, al muth, in two words, upon death, consider them also as belonging to the inscription of the following psalm, observing that there can be no propriety in saying — ever and ever — unto death Merrick, however, remarks, “The words for ever and ever, and unto death, seem to me very consistent, as they relate to different propositions: This God will be our God to all eternity, and (by that power which he has already thus exerted in our protection) will conduct us through life with safety.” which seems equally remote from the meaning of the prophet; unless, perhaps, we should understand him as intending expressly to say, that God’s way of exercising his government is hidden, that we may not measure or judge of it by carnal reason, but by faith.