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Chapter XVII.

Showing How We May Through Christ, And After The Example Of All The Saints, Overcome The Calumnies Of Men.

Mine enemies reproach me all the day, and they that are mad against me are sworn against me.Ps. 102:8.

Among the many crosses and troubles of a Christian, a false and slanderous tongue is none of the least, as we may evidently see, from the example of Christ himself, whom the Pharisees, with their envenomed tongues, both in his life and at his death, did most maliciously sting.

2. Herein the Lord left a pattern of patience to every Christian, who must not think to escape, since the great Master himself was wounded by malicious tongues. The more conformable any one is to Christ, and the more zealously he follows Christ's steps, the more is he also insulted by false and deceitful tongues. This plainly appears from the example of holy David, who was tormented by slanderers, as he himself complains in the following Psalms: 3, 4, 10, 12, 15, 31, 50, 52, 55, 58, 64, 69, 102, 120, and 140. Indeed, there is no one of the prophets of old who did not have these deadly arrows shot against him by murderous tongues; for “their tongue is an arrow shot out: he speaks peaceably to his neighbor with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait.” Jer. 9:8. All honest hearts ought, therefore, to beware of back-biters. As he that toucheth a man infected with leprosy, or any infectious distemper, must expect to be 221 so infected; so he that gives ear to lying tongues, too often catches the same distemper.

3. Now, since a Christian is forbidden to retort evil for evil (Rom. 12:17; Matt 5:39), (this agreeing in no wise with the Christian faith); there is no other counsel left, but that by a conscience void of offence, he derives his comfort from those divine oracles with which the Lord has furnished him for that purpose.

4. (1) Let thy first comfort be the example of Christ and of all the saints. It fares no worse with us in this respect, than with Christ our Head, and with all that have ever been most dear to him. Nothing of this kind has befallen us, which has not been before in all ages undergone by his followers. And since the examples of others have generally a strong influence on our lives, and readily suggest themselves to our remembrance in time of trouble; we ought, therefore, to improve all those instances into an encouragement to bear our treatment with patience, for the sake of the joy that usually springs up from the reproach of the cross. Look then upon the Prince of thy salvation, look upon the lives of all the saints of old, those who have been the greatest lights in their generation. Consider the example of Moses, who esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt (Heb. 11:26), and who, by reason of the continual contradictions he underwent, is said to have been a man meek, or afflicted, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth. Numb. 12:3. And what shall we say of David? He was truly, in his time, the very mark, as it were, at which all the false tongues in the land shot their murderous arrows. “Mine enemies,” said he, “revile me all the day long: and they that are mad against me, are sworn together against me.” Ps. 102:8. They affronted him daily with the reproach of his misery, turning him, as it were, into a proverb, and offering him the most heinous indignity that can be offered to a man. What shall we say of Job? How was he upbraided by his friends, and grieved with their tongues! And how fell Daniel, that holy prophet, into an open sepulchre, yea, into a den of lions! Yet how powerfully did the Lord rescue Moses, Job, and Daniel! All these are gone before thee, and their examples, if duly considered, will excite in thee a spirit of holy emulation, and draw thee into the same way of the cross by which they entered into the kingdom of God. Acts 14:22. Behold, thy Lord Jesus goeth before thee, pursued with the curses and revilings of the Pharisees! There goeth Moses before, and the faction of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, following behind, with execrations in their mouths, and stones in their hands, to rid themselves of him! Numb. 16. There is David in sore trials, and Shimei behind, cursing his king! 2 Sam. 16:5. And there are the apostles of our Lord, and an unbelieving multitude behind, stopping their ears, and running madly upon them.

5. (2) It is not enough, however, slightly and superficially to reflect on the example of the saints; but we must learn also to be followers of them, when we are tried as they were, and in every tribulation copy after their meekness and patience. How shall meekness appear, or how shall patience be exercised, if thou be not contradicted; or if there be none 222 to deride, slander, or vilify thee? Thou must, therefore, patiently take up thy cross with them, and meekly follow the Lord Christ in his steps. Thou art called to suffer with thy Saviour, and not to avenge thyself, not to return evil for evil, not to revile again being reviled, not to threaten being slandered, but quietly to commit thy cause “to him that judgeth righteously.” 1 Pet. 2:23. Evil tongues must give an account in the day of judgment of every idle word which they have spoken. Matt. 12:36. And this will at the last day prove a burden heavy enough. Leave all, therefore, to the Lord, to do as he pleaseth, who will not fail to do right. Recompense and vengeance belong to him alone. Deut. 32:35. Fix thine eye on the Lord Jesus: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he was brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before his shearers is dumb, so opened he not his mouth.” Isa. 53:7.

6. (3) From the examples of the saints, we are, in the next place, to learn a sovereign remedy, which they made use of against the venom of evil tongues. This is prayer. They prayed, and so they were healed and comforted. When they were bitterly cursed by their adversaries, they sent up only their cry to God, saying: “Let them curse; but bless thou.” Ps. 109:28; Luke 6:28. Consider the whole Book of Psalms throughout. How did David defend himself with prayer, as with a wall of iron, against false tongues! They are all foolish marksmen, who bend their bow against the innocent; and draw the sword to slay such as are of a right conversation: for their lies and slanders shall return at last upon their own heads, and shall enter into their own bowels; as it is written: “Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.” Ps. 37:15. All this can be obtained by prayer. Whenever any one prays earnestly against an evil speaker or a liar, it is as if he wrestled and fought with him; even as David wrestled with Goliath (1 Sam. 17:48, 49), or as Moses contended with the Egyptian sorcerers. Ex. 7:12. Here two spirits fight with each other; that is, the prayer of faith proceeding from the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth; and the spirit of lies proceeding from the devil, the father of lies. But all these devilish serpents of the Egyptians shall eventually be subdued, and, as it were, swallowed up by the divine rod of Moses; that is, by prayer.

7. (4) Another remedy against the poison of a wicked tongue, is the frequent reading and meditating upon the Word of God. This is an excellent means of consolation and refreshment, whenever a soul is insulted and pursued by enemies. An upright heart hunted by men of falsehood and malice, is like a hart, whose thirst increases by being hunted; and as this pants after the water brooks (Ps. 42:1), so must a soul in affliction long after the cooling streams of the divine Word, and thirst for the living waters of grace, thereby to be quickened and refreshed. For by this word of grace the Lord revives a drooping soul, speaking to her in a kind and gracious manner. “Blessed are ye,” says our Master, “when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely. Rejoice and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” 223 Matt. 5:11, 12. In this saying of our Lord, there is a threefold ground of comfort. 1. Blessed are ye. 2. Rejoice. 3. Great is your reward. Who would not be willing, for the sake of so great and endless a good, to endure here reproach and persecution for a short period? Yea, who would not even rejoice, since he is made by this means a partaker of Christ's sufferings, in order, “that when the glory of Christ shall be revealed,” he may also partake with his Lord in that joy? “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye, for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you.” 1 Pet. 4:13, 14. Remember also, that “it is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth;” that he “sit alone and keep silence,” when he hath anything laid upon him to bear; yea, that he “put his mouth in the dust,” and wait in hope; and that he “give his cheek to him that smiteth him,” when he is “filled full with reproach. For the Lord will not cast off for ever.” Lam. 3:27-31.

8. (5) Thou art further to learn, that such calumny is a hellish storm, which soon rises, and soon blows over. As a traveller is not disheartened at any tempestuous weather he is liable to meet with upon the road, but provides himself the more against it: so let the spiritual pilgrim never be cast down by storms and tempests; but let him go on in hope, and continue faithful to the end of his journey. This has been uniformly the state of the true church. “O thou afflicted,” says the prophet, “tossed with tempest, and not comforted!” Isaiah 54:11. Is it a “strange” thing that has happened unto thee? 1 Pet. 4:12. What is more common to a traveller, than to be overtaken by foul and stormy weather? A persevering diligence will, notwithstanding, bring him home at last. The world makes every one a gazing-stock, that looks with concern upon the vain follies of men, and drops a serious word in favor of virtue. What is to-day the fate of one good Christian, may to-morrow be the fate of another, according as the humor of the world works, which allows no one to pass uncensured that is not in league with it. The best method a Christian can adopt in all these storms, is to be quiet under them, and to keep his mind free from anger and bitterness. He that considers every hard word to be a stain on his character, which ought to be wiped off, will by so doing only render things worse. Hence it remains, that the most effectual way to stop the fury of slanderous tongues, is to yield to it for the present, and patiently wait till time itself shall set things in a better light. He that will dispute every thing at the sword's point, as it were, is like a man that is stung by a bee, and being thereby put in a passion, runs headlong upon the whole hive in order to be revenged, by turning it upside down. Had he not better have borne it, than feel the smart which must attend an attempt so rash? The fire of malicious tongues burns the more fiercely when we seek to quench it by too hasty efforts. An evil tongue is like that serpent called the Hydra, which, as some tell us, brought forth seven other heads when, in order to destroy it, you cut off one. Thus a wicked tongue is so far from being restrained by contradiction, that it spreads the farther by it, and broaches seven lies instead of one. Whereas he that is deaf to popular rumors, and is not easily alarmed at every little noise, will not only better repel the darts of wicked tongues, but enjoy also an unshaken tranquillity 224 both of soul and body. This is a truly noble method to overcome the worst of our enemies. He that rejects this heroic meekness of soul, sets himself entirely out of God's protection, and whilst he eagerly endeavors to save his name and reputation, must be the more harassed by the perpetual alarms of malignant tongues.

9. (6) Besides this, there are some other particular reasons, why the Lord permits his children to be persecuted by virulent tongues. When David in his sore troubles was cursed by Shimei, he said no more than, “Let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him.” 2 Sam. 16:11. And what other reason can be assigned for this, but that the Lord hereby seeks to preserve his children from exalting themselves above measure, on account of such eminent gifts as have been conferred upon them; and that they may at the same time improve themselves in the practice of mutual love, mildness, and humility? What is said by David of Shimei, namely, that he was bidden to curse his king, is expressed by Job in more general terms: “He poureth contempt upon princes.” Job 12:21. Now, who is able to fathom all the mysterious depths of divine judgments? The carnal mind by no means likes to be reviled, insulted, or undervalued. Pride and self-love so naturally adhere to us, that they taint all our works and actions. Every one loves to be extolled, and to be made much of, to be esteemed and admired. Alas! it is this natural self-love, which having once led man astray, now propagates nothing but error and folly in the world. It was this self-love that ruined both Lucifer and Adam, and stripped them of the divine love and life with which they were once adorned. In order that we may obtain the victory over this spirit of self-love, and with a view to facilitate this conquest, the Lord thinks, as it were, with himself: “I will permit a lying tongue to assail thee, as I formerly permitted Satan to harass my servants Job and Paul, for their greater humiliation. This slandering tongue shall be thy devil, thy scourge, thy plague, to buffet thee (2 Cor. 12:7), and help to beat down that proud heart, that haughty look, that aspiring temper, which, without this curb, would at last carry all before it.” Thus the Lord leaves nothing untried to accustom the soul to that excellent spirit of humility, and to restrain the spirit of self-love, by which men become allies to Lucifer, who, endeavoring to have a will of his own, opposite to that of his Maker, entirely lost his principality, and that original state in which he was at first created. Jude, ver. 6.

10. (7) Therefore as the Lord is faithful on his side, so he seeks to convert the venom of impious tongues thrown upon his children, into a precious medicine, by which to heal that self-love which is fostered within, and which engenders abundance of other spiritual diseases in the mind. When the world meditates evil against them, then God brings good out of the evil. As out of a certain poisonous serpent an antidote is prepared against poison itself, so God overrules the worst of counsels, and makes them turn to the greatest good to his children. Thus “all things work together for good to them that love God.” Rom. 8:28. They are taught thereby to practise one of the noblest of the works of charity, which is, to “bless their enemies, and to pray for them who despitefully use them.” Matt. 5:44. He that has thus far gained the conquest over corrupt nature, so as to pray heartily for 225 his enemies, is almost arrived at the sublimest degree of true evangelical charity, which alone is able to soften our stubborn hearts into the mild and compassionate heart of Christ, who has also set us a blessed pattern to follow: “Father!” said he, “forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34. For wherever true love is rooted in a soul, it will most certainly produce a tender commiseration towards enemies; who, as the Christian knows, whilst they hate men, render themselves entirely unfit for any communion with God and Christ, and give up their hearts to the devil, that great hater of souls. And this should influence every Christian to commiserate such evil men, who are not of God, but of their father the devil; and lest they should forever sink into the jaws of Satan, the Lord commands his people to pray for them, with this motive annexed to the command: “That ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven.” Matt. 5:45. What has been said of the overruling power of God, whereby he converts the venom of lying tongues into a healing medicine, will more fully appear from the following instances. Joseph would never have been exalted to the dignity of ruler over the land of Egypt, had he not fallen under the malicious lashes of a wanton tongue, and thereby been condemned to prison. Gen. 39:17; 41:40. Had Moses not been persecuted by the violent accusations of his enemies, and obliged to flee from the face of Pharaoh (Exod. 2:15), he had never seen the Lord in the bush, after having led Jethro's flock to Horeb. Exod. 3:2. The spiteful tongue of Doeg the Edomite, and of other enemies of David (1 Sam. 22:9; Ps. 52), drew many a noble Psalm from the latter. Thus Doeg's poisonous tongue was David's medicine. The same overruling wisdom of God appeared for Daniel, when, by the virulence of his accusers, he was cast into the den of lions, but was most triumphantly exalted again by divine Providence, for many good and noble ends; his enemies themselves being made to lay the foundation of his greatness. Dan. 6. Mordecai had the same experience. His ruin was devised by the murderous tongue of Haman (Esther 3:6); but the Lord returned his wickedness upon his own head, and his bloody machinations only hastened the destruction of their contriver. Esther 7:10. Therefore, “commit thy way unto the Lord: trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.” Ps. 37:5, 6. Only endeavor to be in constant union with the Lord thy God, and to love him with all thy heart, and then he will direct thy steps. For “when a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Prov. 16:7. If the world be permitted to stain thy reputation here, and to detract from thy honor, what matters it, provided the Lord dignify thee with a crown of glory hereafter? It is he that will deliver and honor thee at last (Ps. 91:15); and it is he that will give thee both grace here, and glory hereafter. Ps. 84:11.

11. (8) Another comfort in trials of this nature, may be drawn from the control which the Lord exercises over the hearts of all men. It is he that “looks upon all the inhabitants of the earth, from the place of his habitation.” He “fashioneth their hearts; he considereth all their works” (Ps. 33:14, 15); and he “will 226 not deliver thee unto the will of thine enemies.” Ps. 41:2. A man is often transported with rage and malice to such a degree, that he would bear down all that comes in his way; but a little while after, you will find that the man is altogether cooled; his heat is allayed, and he is reduced to such a moderation of temper, as if he were become quite another man. Nay, how often do we see that a bad man, designing nothing but spite and malice, is stopped in the midst of his passionate pursuit, and, as it were, obliged not only to drop his wicked design, but also to bestow tokens of favor upon the person whom he was about to affront. This is an operation peculiar to the wisdom of God, who, by his secret power, often renders abortive the most malicious projects conceived against his children. Thus the Lord came to Laban, when incensed against Jacob, and commanded him to “speak not to him; either good or bad.” Gen. 31:24. And Esau, who bore his brother no good will, when he came within sight of him, must needs run and meet him, embrace him, fall on his neck, kiss him, and receive him with the most endearing expressions of love and kindness. Gen. 33:4.

12. (9) Lastly, it is the nature of a malignant tongue, to swell high suddenly, and by rage and fury to gain universal applause and admiration; but its downfall is as sudden as its rise. Calumny is like a fire, the flame of which mounts up to the very sky; but the want of fuel will soon make it go down again. The reason is, because God, who is the everlasting Truth, hates a spirit of lies, and cannot endure it. And this is also the reason, why those that have raised their greatness on no other foundation than lying and self-conceit, may indeed dazzle the eyes of others for a season; but when they flatter themselves as fixed in an unshaken condition, then generally their ruin is ready at hand, and the Lord's judgment destroys all. Then “the lying lips are put to silence, which spoke grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous” (Ps. 31:18); a text which plainly shows, that pride and disdain of others, are wont to accompany a slandering and lying tongue. But “woe unto thee that dealest treacherously; when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee.” Isa. 33:1. “For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity.” Ps. 125:3. Though a treacherous man may go on in quest of more honor and greatness; yet shall “evil hunt the violent man at last, and overthrow him.” Ps. 140:11.

Sundry consolatory passages, selected from the Psalms, for those who are assailed by the reproaches of enemies.

13. Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek-bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly. Ps. 3:3, 7.—O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing (lying)? But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself; the Lord will hear when I call unto him. Ps. 4:2, 3.

14. Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.—There is no faithfulness in their mouth; their 227 inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue. Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels.—But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favor wilt thou compass him as with a shield. Ps. 5:6, 9, 10, 11, 12.

15. Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly. Ps. 6:10.

16. O Lord, my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me: lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver.—Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood. He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate. Ps. 7:1, 2, 14, 15, 16.

17. Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me under the shadow of thy wings, from the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about. Ps. 17:8, 9.

18. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.—In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God; he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even unto his ears. Ps. 18:3, 6.

19. The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.—For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.—Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.—For false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord. Ps. 27:1, 2, 3, 5, 11, 12, 13, 14.

20. But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.—Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.—Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues. Ps. 31:14, 15, 18, 19, 20.

21. Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the Lord chase them. Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the Lord persecute them. Ps. 35:5, 6.

22. Fret not thyself because of evil doers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.—The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming. The wicked have 228 drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation. Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.—The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him. The Lord will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.—I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. Ps. 37:1, 2, 12, 13, 14, 15, 32, 33, 35, 36.

23. But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth. Then I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs.—For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me. Ps. 38:13, 14, 17.

24. I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred.—I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it.—For I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. Ps. 39:2, 9, 12.

25. Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee. Ps. 55:22, 23.

26. Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me; for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth. My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword. Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth. They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early. I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations. For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds. Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth. Ps. 57:1-11.

27. Preserve my life from fear of the enemy; who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words; that they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not.—But God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded. So shall they make their own tongue to fall upon themselves: all that see them shall flee away. Ps. 64:1, 3, 4, 7, 8.

28. Mine enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait for my soul take counsel together, saying, God hath forsaken him; persecute and take him; for there is none to deliver him.—I will go in the strength of the Lord God: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only. O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when 229 I am old and gray-headed, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.—Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth. Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side. Ps. 71:10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21.

29. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. Ps. 121:1-8.

30. Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man; which imagine mischiefs in their heart; continually are they gathered together for war. They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent: adders' poison is under their lips. Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings. The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the way side; they have set nets for me. I said unto the Lord, Thou art my God: hear the voice of my supplications, O Lord. O God, the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle. Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked: further not his wicked device; lest they exalt themselves. As for the head of those that compass me about, let the mischief of their own lips cover them. Let burning coals fall upon them; let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, that they rise not up again. Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth: evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him. I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor. Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence. Ps. 140:1-13.

31. I cried unto the Lord with my voice; with my voice unto the Lord did I make my supplication. I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me. I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living. Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about: for thou shalt deal bountifully with me. Ps. 142:1-7.

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