Verse 9. Before the Lord; for he cometh to judge the earth. Stiller music such as made the stars twinkle with their soft kind eyes suited his first coming at Bethlehem, but his second advent calls for trumpets, for he is a judge; and for all earth's acclamations, for he has put on his royal splendour. The rule of Christ is the joy of nature. All things bless his throne, yea, and the very coming of it. As the dawn sets the earth weeping for joy at the rising of the sun, till the dewdrops stand in her eyes, so should the approach of Jesus' universal reign make all creation glad.
With righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity. This is the joy of it. No tyrant and no weakling is he, to oppress the good or to indulge the vain, his law is good, his action right, his government the embodiment of justice. If ever there was a thing to rejoice in upon this poor, travailing earth, it is the coming of such a deliverer, the ascension to the universal throne of such a governor. All hail, Jesus! all hail! Our soul faints with delight at the sound of thins approaching chariots, and can only cry, "Come quickly. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!"
Keble's version of the last four verses is so truly beautiful that we cannot deny our readers the luxury of perusing it: --
"Ring out, with horn and trumpet ring,
In shouts before the Lord the King:
Let ocean with his fulness swing
In restless unison:"
"Earth's round and all the dwellers there,
The mighty floods the burden bear,
And clap the hand: in choral air,
Join every mountain lone."
"Tell out before the Lord, that he
Is come, the Judge of earth to be,
To judge the world in equity,
Do right to realm and throne."
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 9. The Psalter is much occupied in celebrating the benign fruits which Christ's reign is to yield in all the earth. It will be a reign of HOLINESS. This is its proper and distinctive nature. Under it, the ends of the earth will fear God, and rejoice in his salvation. It will be a reign of JUSTICE. Under it, the wars and oppressions and cruelties, the unequal laws and iniquitous institutions that have so long vexed and cursed the world, shall find a place no more. This happy reformation is usually foretold in the form of a proclamation that the Lord is coming "to judge the earth." It is important, therefore, to keep in mind the true sense and intention of that oft repeated proclamation. It does not refer, as an unwary reader might suppose, to the Judgment of the Great Day. There is no terror in it. The Psalms that have it for their principal burden are jubilant in the highest degree. The design of the proclamation is to announce Christ in the character of a Peaceful Prince coming to administer equal laws with an impartial hand, and so to cause wrong and contention to cease in the earth. This is Christ's manner of judging the earth. What he has already done in this direction enables us to form a clear conception of what he will yet set himself to do. When he designs to accomplish great and salutary reforms in the political and social institutions of a people, he begins by dislodging bad principles from men's minds and planting Scriptural principles in their stead; by purging evil passions from men's hearts, and baptising them with the Spirit of truth and justice, godliness and lovingkindness. A sure foundation having been thus laid for a better order of things, he will by some storm of controversy or of revolution sweep away the institutions in which injustice has entrenched itself, and will thus make it possible for righteousness to have free course. Oh what a store of comfort for the down trodden, the enslaved, the needy, is laid up in the announcement that the Lord is coming to be the avenger of all such! Well may all the creatures be invited to clap their hands for joy at the thought that he has taken this work in hand; that he sitteth upon the floods; and that the storms that agitate the nations are the chariot in which he rides to take possession of the earth, and make it an abode of righteousness and peace. William Binnie.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 9. The last judgment as a theme for thankfulness.
Verse 9. Before the Lord. Where we are, where our joy should be, where all our actions should be felt to be, where we shall be -- "before the Lord." Enquire -- What are we before the Lord? What shall we be when he cometh?
WORKS WRITTEN ABOUT THE NINETY-EIGHTH PSALM. IN SPURGEON'S DAY
In "The Works of John Boys," 1626, folio, pp. 34-6, there is a short exposition of this psalm.