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The state and condition of the soul represented in the psalm — The two first verses opened.

The state and condition of the soul here represented as the basis on which the process of the psalm is built, with its deportment, or the general acting of its faith in that state, is expressed in the two first verses:—

“Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.”

I. The present state of the soul under consideration is included in that expression, “Out of the depths.”

Some of the ancients, as Chrysostom, suppose this expression to relate unto the depths of the heart of the psalmist: Τί ἐστιν ἐκ βαθέων· not from the mouth or tongue only, ἀλλ’ ἀπὸ καρδίας βαθυτάτης, — “but from the depth and bottom of the heart;” ἐξ αὐτῶν τῆς διανοίας τῶν βάθρων, “from the deepest recesses of the mind.”

And, indeed, the word is used to express the depths of the hearts of men, but utterly in another sense: Ps. lxiv. 6, “The heart is deep.”

But the obvious sense of the place, and the constant use of the word, will not admit of this interpretation: “E profundis;” from עָמַק‎, “profundus fuit,” is מַעֲמַקִּים‎ in the plural number, “profunditates,” or “depths.” It is commonly used for valleys, or any deep places whatever, but especially of waters. Valleys and deep places, because 331of their darkness and solitariness, are accounted places of horror, helplessness, and trouble: Ps. xxiii. 4, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death;” that is, in the extremity of danger and trouble.

The moral use of the word, as expressing the state and condition of the souls of men, is metaphorical. These depths, then, are difficulties or pressures, attended with fear, horror, danger, and trouble.

And they are of two sorts:—

1. Providential, in respect of outward distresses, calamities, and afflictions: Ps. lxix. 1, 2, “Save me, O God; for the waters axe come in unto my soul. I stick in the mire of the deep, and there is no standing. I am come, בְמַעֲמַקֵּי־מַיִם‎, into the depths of waters, and the flood overflows me.” It is trouble, and the extremity of it, that the psalmist complains of, and which he thus expresseth. He was brought by it into a condition like unto a man ready to be drowned, being cast into the bottom of deep and miry waters, where be had no firm foundation to stand upon, nor ability to come out; as he farther explains himself, verse 15.

2. There are internal depths, — depths of conscience upon the account of sin: Ps. lxxxviii. 6, “Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.” What he intends by this expression, the psalmist declares in the next words, verse 7, “Thy wrath lieth hard upon me.” Sense of God’s wrath upon his conscience upon the account of sin, was the deep he was east into. So, verse 15, speaking of the same matter, saith he, “I suffer thy terrors;” and verse 16, “Thy fierce wrath goeth over me;” which he calls water, waves, and deeps, according to the metaphor before opened.

And these are the deeps that are here principally intended. “Clamat sub molibus et fluctibus iniquitatem suarum,” says Austin on the place; — “He cries out under the weight and waves of his sins.”

This the ensuing psalm makes evident. Desiring to be delivered from these depths out of which he cried, he deals with God wholly about mercy and forgiveness; and it is sin done from which forgiveness is a deliverance. The doctrine, also, that he preacheth upon his delivery is that of mercy, grace, and redemption, as is manifest from the close of the psalm; and what we have deliverance by is most upon our hearts when we are delivered.

It is true, indeed, that these deeps do oftentimes concur; as David speaks, “Deep calleth unto deep,” Ps. xlii. 7. The deeps of affliction awaken the conscience to a deep sense of sin. But sin is the disease, affliction only a symptom of it: and in attending a cure, the disease itself is principally to be heeded; the symptom will follow or depart of itself.

Many interpreters think that this was now David’s condition. By 332great trouble and distress he was greatly minded of sin; and we must not, therefore, wholly pass over that intendment of the word, though we are chiefly to respect that which he himself, in this address unto God, did principally regard.

This, in general, is the state and condition of the soul managed in this psalm, and is as the key to the ensuing discourse, or the hinge on which it turns. As to my intendment from the psalm, that which ariseth from hence may be comprised in these two propositions:—

1. Gracious souls, after much communion with God, may be brought into inextricable depths and entanglements on the account of sin; for such the psalmist here expresseth his own condition to have been, and such he was,

2. The inward root of outward distresses is principally to be attended in all pressing trials; — sin, in afflictions.

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