Verse 3. My heart was hot within me. The friction of inward thoughts produced an intense mental heat. The door of his heart was shut, and with the fire of sorrow burning within, the chamber of his soul soon grew unbearable with heat. Silence is an awful thing for a sufferer, it is the surest method to produce madness. Mourner, tell your sorrow; do it first and most fully to God, but even to pour it out before some wise and godly friend is far from being wasted breath. While I was musing the fire burned. As he thought upon the ease of the wicked and his own daily affliction, he could not unravel the mystery of providence, and therefore he became greatly agitated. While his heart was musing it was fusing, for the subject was confusing. It became harder every moment to be quiet; his volcanic soul was tossed with an inward ocean of fire, and heaved to and fro with a mental earthquake; and eruption was imminent, the burning lava must pour forth in a fiery stream. Then spake I with my tongue. The original is grandly laconic. I spake. The muzzled tongue burst all its bonds. The gag was hurled away. Misery, like murder, will out. You can silence praise, but anguish is clamorous. Resolve or no resolve, heed or no heed, sin or no sin, the impetuous torrent forced for itself a channel and swept away every restraint.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 2-9. See Psalms on "Psalms 39:2" for further information.
Verse 3. My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned. They say of the lodestone (that wonder in nature), when either by carelessness in keeping it, or by some accident it loses its virtue, yet by laying it some good space of time in the filings of steel, it will again recover its virtues: when the spirit of a Christian by not looking well to it, loses of its heavenly heat and liveliness, the way of recovery is by laying it asleep in this so warming and quickening meditation. Oh, how burning and flaming may we often observe the spirit of the holy psalmist David, in his acting of meditation! Musing made him hot, yea, burning hot at the heart. Thus often in the beginning of a Psalm we find his heart low and discouraged, but as this musing was acted and heightened, his spirit grew hotter, and at last flies all on a flame, flies up to a very high pitch of heavenly heat. Oh, how do all the conscientious practisers of meditation, ever and anon experience these happy, heavenly heats, and heart enlargements! Ah, if all the saints' so glorious heart quickenings were gathered together, what a rich chain of pearls, pearls of rare experiences, would they make up of the heart warming efficacies of meditation! Nathanael Ranew.
Verse 3. I was musing. What a blessed (shall I say duty or) privilege is prayer! Now meditation is a help to prayer. Gersom calls it the nurse of prayer. Meditation is like oil to the lamp; the lamp of prayer will soon go out unless meditation cherish and support it. Meditation and prayer are like two turtles, if you separate one the other dies; a cunning angler observes the time and season when the fish bite best, and then he throws in the angle, when the heart is warmed by meditation, now is the best season to throw in the angle of prayer, and fish for mercy. After Isaac had been in the field meditating he was fit for prayer when he came home. When the gun is full of powder it is fittest to discharge. So when the mind is full of good thoughts, a Christian is fittest by prayer for discharge; now he sends up whole volleys of sighs and groans to heaven. Meditation hath a double benefit in it, it pours in and pours out; first it pours good thoughts into the mind, and then it pours out those thoughts again into prayer; meditation first furnishes with matter to pray and then it furnishes with a heart to pray. I was musing, saith David, and the very next words are a prayer, "Lord, make me to know mine end." I muse on the works of thy hands, I stretch forth my hands to thee. The musing of his head made way for the stretching forth of his hands in prayer. When Christ was upon the Mount, then he prayed: so when the soul is upon the mount of meditation, now it is in tune for prayer. Prayer is the child of meditation: meditation leads the van, and prayer brings up the rear. Thomas Watson.
Verse 3. Musing. Meditation is prayer in bullion, prayer in the ore, soon melted and run into holy desires. The laden cloud soon drops into rain, the piece charged soon goes off when fire is put to it. A meditating soul is in proxima potentia to prayer. This was an ejaculatory prayer shot from his soul when in the company of the wicked. William Gurnall.
Verse 3. The fire burned. My thoughts kindled my passions. Matthew Pool.
Verse 3. The fire burned. Meditate so long till thou findest thy heart grow warm in this duty. If, when a man is cold you ask how long he should stand by the fire? sure, till he be thoroughly warm, and made fit for his work. So, Christian, thy heart is cold; never a day, no, not the hottest day in summer, but it freezes there; now stand at the fire of meditation till thou findest thy affections warmed, and thou art made fit for spiritual service. David mused till his heart waxed hot within him. I will conclude this with that excellent saying of Bernard: "Lord, I will never come away from thee without thee." Let this be a Christian's resolution, not to leave off his meditations of God till he find something of God in him; some moving of the bowels after God; some flamings of love, Song of Solomon 5:4 . Thomas Watson.
Verse 3. His company was bad, but his thoughts were good; even while the wicked was before him his heart was hot within him, while he was musing the fire burned. His thoughts inflame his affections with holy zeal, and this holy fore, as by an ante-peristasis, burnt so much the hotter for the frost of cursed contrariety that was about it. When the careful magistrates or officers of a company break into a suspected house in the nighttime, the great question is, What company have you here? So when God breaks in upon our dark hearts, the enquiry is, What thoughts have you here? Why do thoughts arise in your minds? Are ye not become judges of evil thoughts? Luke 24:38 James 2:4 . Faithful Teat.
Verse 3. The spake I with my tongue, Lord, etc. It is, indeed, a happy circumstance when that silence which has long been preserved is first broken before the Lord. John Morison.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS