And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.…
The subject of the psalmist's complaint in these words is a common weakness, incident to human nature; a too great confidence in the day of prosperity, and excessive dejection in a time of trouble.
I. WHAT IT IS THAT CHIEFLY CONTRIBUTES TO THIS EXTREME DIVERSITY OF TEMPER UNDER THE VARYING SCENES OF LIFE.
1. It is sometimes owing, in a good measure, to the native turn and temper of the mind. Some are of so soft and flexible a make, that they are soon impressed: almost everything affects them too much.
2. That which chiefly contributes to this great reverse of temper under the vicissitudes of life, I conceive to be an excessive fondness for earthly enjoyments. Did we not set our hearts upon these things, we should meet with fewer disappointments from them.
3. Our ignorance, or inconsideration of the true nature of present things, as
4. A want of faith, which would teach us to look beyond these things to the final issue of the great all-wise Disposer of them.
II. WHAT DANGEROUS CONSEQUENCES ATTEND SUCH AN INEQUALITY OF MIND.
1. It lays us exposed to all the temptations of that state of life, into which Providence hath brought us.
(1) A man that is secure, carnal and confident in prosperity, lies wholly exposed to all the snares and temptations incident to that state of life: which are such as these; pride, worldly-mindedness, self-indulgence, vanity, avarice, intemperance, contempt of others, self-sufficiency, oppression, irreligion, or, at least, a great indifference to sacred things.
(2) A succumbency and dejection of mind in adversity lays us exposed to all the dangers and temptations of float condition. And the sins, to which men are most inclined in this state of life, are envy at the prosperity of others, murmuring, impatience, discontent, uncharitableness, passion, fearfulness and despair.
2. It deprives us of all the advantages we might derive from these states.
(1) An elate and careless frame of mind in prosperity deprives us of the chief benefits that might accrue to us from thence: or, in other words, it prevents our blessings from being sanctified. For how can those blessings be sanctified to us which we are not thankful for? And how can we be thankful for those blessings for which we are forgetful of our dependence on Providence?
(2) An excessive grief and despondency in tribulation is attended with effects no less detrimental; as it deprives us of all those advantages we might reap from our troubles. Afflictions are often sent as the greatest mercies; to make us more meek, resigned, patient, humble, holy and heavenly. minded; to purify our hearts, wean us from the world, and mortify our sensual affections; and to revive and cultivate a spiritual, watchful and dependent frame of mind. But how can afflictions be sanctified to these happy purposes, when the mind is tossed with tempestuous sorrow, or faints under the stroke, incapable of forming one right), or regular reflection?
III. WHAT CONSIDERATIONS ARE MOST PROPER TO BALANCE THE PASSIONS, AND GIVE US A SELF-POSSESSION UNDER ALL PROVIDENTIAL OCCURRENCES.
1. Let us often think of the natural inconstancy of all earthly things.
(1) Are there not a thousand secret and unforeseen ways, whereby the hand of God can suddenly take from us all cur earthly comforts, or our capacity to enjoy them? How vain, then, is a confident spirit in a day of prosperity.
(2) Are our souls involved in darkness? and our minds disconsolate, and bowed down, under the pressure of some grievous affliction? let us remember, that the day succeeds the night (ver. 5). Time cures all our earthly sorrows; and grace alleviates them. Let this sanctify, what that will entirely remove.
2. Let us look forward to the end of things, and endeavour to familiarize to ourselves the thoughts of futurity.
3. Let us ever keep our eye fixed on God, as the all-wise and sovereign Disposer of these things; and remember, that whatever befalls us, comes either by His permission or direction.
4. Leg us think how much we offend our Maker by indulging in that weak unguarded temper now described.
5. Let us consider how much we lose the relish of our mercies by being too secure and fond of them in prosperity; and how we increase our load by sinking under it in adversity.
6. Let us learn to be more cautious in prosperity, and more composed in adversity, and endeavour after more equanimity in both.
(J. Mason, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.