Verse 14. For all the day long have I been plagued. He was smitten from the moment he woke to the time he went to bed. His griefs were not only continued, but renewed with every opening day. And chastened every morning. This was a vivid contrast to the lot of the ungodly. There were crowns for the reprobates and crosses for the elect. Strange that the saints should sigh and the sinners sing. Rest was given to the disturbers, and yet peace was denied to the peace makers. The downcast seer was in a muse and a maze. The affairs of mankind appeared to him to be in a fearful tangle; how could it be permitted by a just ruler that things should be so turned upside down, and the whole course of justice dislocated.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 14. All the day long have I been plagued, etc. Sickly tempers must have a medicinal diet: to be purged both at spring and fall will scarce secure some from the malignity of their distempers. The Lord knows our frame, and sees what is usually needful for every temper; and when he afflicts most frequently, he does no more than he sees requisite. David Clarkson.
Verse 14. If a man be watchful over his own ways, and the dealings of God with him, there is seldom a day but he may find some rod of affliction upon him; but, as through want of care and watchfulness, we lose the sight of many mercies, so we do of many afflictions. Though God doth not every day bring a man to his bed, and break his bones, yet we seldom, if at all, pass a day without some rebuke and chastening. I have been chastened every morning, saith the psalmist... As sure, or as soon, as I rise I have a whipping, and my breakfast is bread of sorrow and the water of adversity... Our lives are full of afflictions; and it is as great as part of a Christian's skill to know afflictions as to know mercies; to know when God smites, as to know when he girds us; and it is our sin to overlook afflictions as well as to overlook mercies. Joseph Caryl.
Verse 14. The way to heaven is an afflicted way, a perplexed, persecuted way, crushed close together with crosses, as was the Israelites way in the wilderness, or that of Jonathan and his armour bearer, that had a sharp rock on the one side and a sharp rock on the other. And, whilst they crept upon all four, flinty stones were under them, briars and thorns on either hand of them; mountains, crags, and promontories over them; sic potitur caelum, so heaven is caught by pains, by patience, by violence, affliction being our inseparable companion. "The cross way is the highway to heaven," said that martyr (Bradford); and another, "If there be any way to heaven on horseback, it is by the cross." Queen Elizabeth is said to have swum to the crown through a sea of sorrows. They that will to heaven, must sail by hell gates; they that will have knighthood, must kneel for it; and they that will get in at the strait gate, must crowd for it. "Strive to enter in at the strait gate," saith our Saviour; strive and strain, even to an agony, as the word signifieth. Heaven is compared to a hill; hell to a hole. To hell a man may go without a staff, as we say; the way thereto is easy, steep, strawed with roses; it is but a yielding to Satan, a passing from sin to sin, from evil purposes to evil practices, from practice to custom, etc. Sed revocure gradum, but to turn short again, and make straight steps to our feet, that we may force through the strait gate, hic labor, hoc opus est, opus non pulvinaris sed pulveris; this is a work of great pains, a duty of no small difficulty. John Trapp.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 14. The frequent and even constant chastisement of the righteous; the necessity and design thereof; and the consolations connected therewith.