I have collected and disposed the most useful verses
of this psalm under eighteen different heads,
and formed a divine song upon each of them.
But the verses are much transposed
to attain some degree of connection.
In some places, among the words "law," "commands,"
"judgments," "testimonies," I have used "gospel,"
"word," "grace," "truth," "promises," &c. as
more agreeable to the language of the New Testament,
and the common language of Christians,
and it equally answers the design of the Psalmist,
which was to recommend the Holy Scriptures.
Psalm 119 - Part One.
The blessedness of saints, and misery of sinners.
1 Blest are the undefil'd in heart,
Whose ways are right and clean;
Who never from thy law depart,
But fly from every sin.
2 Blest are the men that keep thy word,
And practise thy commands;
With their whole heart they seek the Lord,
And serve thee with their hands.
3 Great is their peace who love thy law;
How firm their souls abide!
Nor can a bold temptation draw
Their steady feet aside.
4 Then shall my heart have inward joy,
And keep my face from shame,
When all thy statutes I obey,
And honour all thy name.
Verses 21, 118.
5 But haughty sinners God will hate,
The proud shall die accurst;
The sons of falsehood and deceit
Are trodden to the dust.
Verses 119, 155.
6 Vile as the dross the wicked are;
And those that leave thy ways
Shall see salvation from afar,
But never taste thy grace.
Psalm 119 - Part Two.
Secret devotion and spiritual mindedness.
Verses 147, 55.
1 To thee, before the dawning light,
My gracious God, I pray;
I meditate thy name by night,
And keep thy law by day.
2 My spirit faints to see thy grace,
Thy promise bears me up;
And while salvation long delays,
Thy word supports my hope.
3 Seven times a day I lift my hands,
And pay my thanks to thee;
Thy righteous providence demands
Repeated praise from me.
4 When midnight darkness veils the skies,
I call thy works to mind;
My thoughts in warm devotion rise,
And sweet acceptance find.
Psalm 119 - Part Three.
Profession: of sincerity, repentance, and obedience.
Verses 57, 60.
1 Thou art my portion, O my God;
Soon as I know thy way,
My heart makes haste t' obey thy word,
And suffers no delay.
Verses 30, 14.
2 I choose the path of heavenly truth,
And glory in my choice:
Not all the riches of the earth
Could make me so rejoice.
3 The testimonies of thy grace
I set before my eyes;
Thence I derive my daily strength,
And there my comfort lies.
4 If once I wander from thy path,
I think upon my ways,
Then turn my feet to thy commands,
And trust thy pardoning grace.
Verses 94, 114.
5 Now I am thine, for ever thine,
O save thy servant, Lord;
Thou art my shield, my hiding-place,
My hope is in thy word.
6 Thou hast inclin'd this heart of mine,
Thy statutes to fulfil;
And thus till mortal life shall end
Would I perform thy will.
Psalm 119 - Part Four.
Instruction from scripture.
1 How shall the young secure their hearts,
And guard their lives from sin?
Thy word the choicest rules imparts
To keep the conscience clean.
2 When once it enters to the mind,
It spreads such light abroad,
The meanest souls instruction find,
And raise their thoughts to God.
3 'Tis like the sun, a heavenly light,
That guides us all the day;
And thro' the dangers of the night,
A lamp to lead our way.
Verses 99, 100.
4 The men that keep thy law with care,
And meditate thy word,
Grow wiser than their teachers are,
And better know the Lord,
Verses 104, 113.
5 Thy precepts make me truly wise:
I hate the sinner's road;
I hate my own vain thoughts that rise,
But love thy law, my God.
6 [The starry heavens thy rule obey,
The earth maintains her place;
And these thy servants night and day
Thy skill and power express!
7 But still thy law and gospel, Lord,
Have lessons more divine;
Not earth stands firmer than thy word,
Nor stars so nobly shine.]
Verses 160, 140, 9, 116.
8 Thy word is everlasting truth;
How pure is every page!
That holy book shall guide our youth,
And well support our age.
Psalm 119 - Part Five.
Delight in scripture; or,
The word of God dwelling in us.
1 O how I love thy holy law!
'Tis daily my delight;
And thence my meditations draw
Divine advice by night.
2 My waking eyes prevent the day
To meditate thy word;
My soul with longing melts away
To hear thy gospel, Lord.
Verses 3, 13, 54.
3 How doth thy word my heart engage!
How well employ my tongue!
And, in my tiresome pilgrimage,
Yields me a heavenly song.
Verses 19, 103.
4 Am I a stranger, or at home,
'Tis my perpetual feast;
Not honey dropping from the comb
So much allures the taste.
Verses 72, 127.
5 No treasures so enrich the mind;
Nor shall thy word be sold
For loads of silver well refin'd,
Nor heaps of choicest gold.
Verses 28, 49, 175.
6 When nature sinks, and spirits droop,
Thy promises of grace
Are pillars to support my hope,
And there I write thy praise.
Psalm 119 - Part Six.
Holiness and comfort from the word.
1 Lord, I esteem thy judgments right,
And all thy statutes just;
Thence I maintain a constant fight
With every flattering lust.
Verses 97, 9.
2 Thy precepts often I survey;
I keep thy law in sight,
Thro' all the business of the day,
To form my actions right.
3 My heart in midnight silence cries,
"How sweet thy comforts be!"
My thoughts in holy wonder rise,
And bring their thanks to thee.
4 And when my spirit drinks her fill
At some good word of thine,
Not mighty men that share the spoil
Have joys compar'd to mine.
Psalm 119 - Part Seven.
Imperfection of nature,
and perfection of scripture.
Verse 96, paraphrased.
1 Let all the heathen writers join
To form one perfect book,
Great God, if once compar'd with thine,
How mean their writings look!
2 Not the most perfect rules they gave
Could shew one sin forgiven,
Nor lead a step beyond the grave;
But thine conduct to heaven.
3 I've seen an end of what we call
Perfection here below;
How short the powers of nature fall,
And can no farther go!
4 Yet men would fain be just with God
By works their hands have wrought;
But thy commands, exceeding broad,
Extend to every thought.
5 In vain we boast perfection here,
While sin defiles our frame,
And sinks our virtues down so far,
They scarce deserve the name.
6 Our faith and love, and every grace,
Fall far below thy word;
But perfect truth and righteousness
Dwell only with the Lord.
Psalm 119 - Part Eight.
The word of God is the saint's portion.
Verse 111, paraphrased.
1 Lord, I have made thy word my choice,
My lasting heritage;
There shall my noblest powers rejoice,
My warmest thoughts engage.
2 I'll read the histories of thy love,
And keep thy laws in sight,
While thro' the promises I rove,
With ever fresh delight.
3 'Tis a broad land of wealth unknown
Where springs of life arise,
Seeds of immortal bliss are sown,
And hidden glory lies.
4 The best relief that mourners have,
It makes our sorrows blest;
Our fairest hope beyond the grave,
And our eternal rest.
Psalm 119 - Part Nine.
Desire of knowledge; or,
The teachings of the Spirit with the word.
Verses 64, 66, 18.
1 Thy mercies fill the earth, O Lord,
How good thy works appear!
Open mine eyes to read thy word,
And see thy wonders there.
Verses 73, 125.
2 My heart was fashion'd by thy hand,
My service is thy due:
O make thy servant understand
The duties he must do.
3 Since I'm a stranger here below,
Let not thy path be hid;
But mark the road my feet should go,
And be my constant guide.
4 When I confess'd my wandering ways,
Thou heardst my soul complain;
Grant me the teachings of thy grace,
Or I shall stray again.
Verses 33, 34.
5 If God to me his statutes shew,
And heavenly truth impart,
His work for ever I'll pursue,
His laws shall rule my heart.
Verses 50, 71.
6 This was my comfort when I bore
Variety of grief;
It made me learn thy word the more,
And fly to that relief.
7 [In vain the proud deride me now;
I'll ne'er forget thy law,
Nor let that blessed gospel go
Whence all my hopes I draw.
Verses 27, 171.
8 When I have learn'd my Father's will
I'll teach the world his ways;
My thankful lips inspir'd with zeal
Shall loud pronounce his praise.]
Psalm 119 - Part Ten.
Pleading the promises.
Verses 38, 49.
1 Behold thy waiting servant, Lord,
Devoted to thy fear;
Remember and confirm thy word,
For all my hopes are there.
Verses 41, 58, 107.
2 Hast thou not writ salvation down,
And promis'd quickening grace?
Doth not my heart address thy throne?
And yet thy love delays.
Verses 123, 42.
3 Mine eyes for thy salvation fail;
O bear thy servant up;
Nor let the scoffing lips prevail,
Who dare reproach my hope.
Verses 49, 74.
4 Didst thou not raise my faith, O Lord?
Then let thy truth appear:
Saints shall rejoice in my reward,
And trust as well as fear.
Psalm 119 - Part Eleven.
Breathing after holiness.
Verses 5, 33.
1 O that the Lord would guide my ways
To keep his statutes still!
O that my God would grant me grace
To know and do his will!
2 O send thy Spirit down to write
Thy law upon my heart!
Nor let my tongue indulge deceit,
Nor act the liar's part.
Verses 37, 36.
3 From vanity turn off my eyes:
Let no corrupt design,
Nor covetous desires arise
Within this soul of mine.
4 Order my footsteps by thy word,
And make my heart sincere,
Let sin have no dominion, Lord,
But keep my conscience clear.
5 My soul hath gone too far astray,
My feet too often slip;
Yet since I've not forgot thy way,
Restore thy wandering sheep.
6 Make me to walk in thy commands,
'Tis a delightful road;
Nor let my head, or heart, or hands,
Offend against my God.
Psalm 119 - Part Twelve.
Breathing after comfort and deliverance.
1 My God, consider my distress,
Let mercy plead my cause;
Tho' I have sinn'd against thy grace,
I can't forget thy laws.
Verses 39, 116.
2 Forbid, forbid the sharp reproach
Which I so justly fear;
Uphold my life, uphold my hopes,
Nor let my shame appear.
Verses 122, 135.
3 Be thou a surety, Lord, for me,
Nor let the proud oppress;
But make thy waiting servant see
The shinings of thy face.
4 My eyes with expectation fail,
My heart within me cries,
"When will the Lord his truth fulfil,
"And make my comforts rise?"
5 Look down upon my sorrows, Lord,
And shew thy grace the same
As thou art ever wont t' afford
To those that love thy name.
Psalm 119 - Part Thirteen.
Holy fear, and tenderness of conscience.
1 With my whole heart I've sought thy face,
O let me never stray
From thy commands, O God of grace,
Nor tread the sinner's way.
2 Thy word I've hid within my heart
To keep my conscience clean,
And be an everlasting guard
From every rising sin.
Verses 63, 53, 158.
3 I'm a companion of the saints
Who fear and love the Lord;
My sorrows rise, my nature faints,
When men transgress thy word.
Verses 161, 163.
4 While sinners do thy gospel wrong,
My spirit stands in awe;
My soul abhors a lying tongue,
But loves thy righteous law.
Verses 161, 120.
5 My heart with sacred reverence hears
The threatenings of thy word:
My flesh with holy trembling fears
The judgments of the Lord.
Verses 166, 174.
6 My God, I long, I hope, I wait
For thy salvation still;
While thy whole law is my delight,
And I obey thy will.
Psalm 119 - Part Fourteen.
Benefit of afflictions, and support under them.
Verses 153, 81, 82.
1 Consider all my sorrows, Lord,
And thy deliverance send;
My soul for thy salvation faints,
When will my troubles end?
2 Yet I have found, 'tis good for me
To bear my Father's rod;
Afflictions make me learn thy law,
And live upon my God.
3 This is the comfort I enjoy
When new distress begins,
I read thy word, I run thy way,
And hate my former sins.
4 Had not thy word been my delight
When earthly joys were fled,
My soul opprest with sorrow's weight
Had sunk amongst the dead.
5 I know thy judgments, Lord, are right,
Tho' they may seem severe;
The sharpest sufferings I endure
Flow from thy faithful care.
6 Before I knew thy chastening rod
My feet were apt to stray;
But now I learn to keep thy word,
Nor wander from thy way.
Psalm 119 - Part Fifteen.
1 That thy statutes every hour
Might dwell upon my mind
Thence I derive a quickening power,
And daily peace I find.
Verses 15, 16.
2 To meditate thy precepts, Lord,
Shall be my sweet employ;
My soul shall ne'er forget thy word,
Thy word is all my joy.
3 How would I run in thy commands,
If thou my heart discharge
From sin and Satan's hateful chains,
And set my feet at large!
Verses 13, 46.
4 My lips with courage shall declare
Thy statutes and thy name;
I'll speak thy word, tho' kings should hear
Nor yield to sinful shame.
Verses 61, 69, 70.
5 Let bands of persecutors rise
To rob me of my right,
Let pride and malice forge their lies,
Thy law is my delight.
6 Depart from me, ye wicked race,
Whose hands and hearts are ill;
I love my God, I love his ways,
And must obey his will.
Psalm 119 - Part Sixteen.
Prayer for quickening grace.
Verses 25, 37.
1 My soul lies cleaving to the dust;
Lord, give me life divine;
From vain desires and every lust
Turn off these eyes of mine.
2 I need the influence of thy grace
To speed me in thy way,
Lest I should loiter in my race,
Or turn my feet astray.
3 When sore afflictions press me down,
I need thy quickening powers;
Thy word that I have rested on
Shall help my heaviest hours.
Verses 156, 140.
4 Are not thy mercies sovereign still?
And thou a faithful God?
Wilt thou not grant me warmer zeal
To run the heavenly road?
Verses 159, 40.
5 Does not my heart thy precepts love,
And long to see thy face?
And yet how slow my spirits move
Without enlivening grace!
6 Then shall I love thy gospel more,
And ne'er forget thy word,
When I have felt its quickening power
To draw me near the Lord.
Psalm 119 - Part Seventeen.
Courage and perseverance under persecution.
Verses 143, 28.
1 When pain and anguish seize me, Lord,
All my support is from thy word:
My soul dissolves for heaviness,
Uphold me with thy strengthening grace.
Verses 51, 69, 110.
2 The proud have fram'd their scoffs and lies,
They watch my feet with envious eyes,
And tempt my soul to snares and sin,
Yet thy commands I ne'er decline.
Verses 161, 78.
3 They hate me, Lord, without a cause,
They hate to see me love thy laws:
But I will trust and fear thy name,
Till pride and malice die with shame.
Psalm 119 - Last Part.
Sanctified afflictions; or,
Delight in the word of God.
Verses 67, 59.
1 Father, I bless thy gentle hand;
How kind was thy chastising rod,
That forc'd my conscience to a stand,
And brought my wandering soul to God!
2 Foolish and vain I went astray
Ere I had felt thy scourges, Lord,
I left my guide, and lost my way;
But now I love and keep thy word.
3 'Tis good for me to wear the yoke,
For pride is apt to rise and swell;
'Tis good to bear my Father's stroke,
That I might learn his statutes well.
4 The law that issues from thy mouth
Shall raise my cheerful passions more
Than all the treasures of the south,
Or western hills of golden ore.
5 Thy hands have made my mortal frame,
Thy spirit form'd my soul within;
Teach me to know thy wondrous name,
And guard me safe from death and sin.
6 Then all that love and fear the Lord
At my salvation shall rejoice;
For I have hoped in thy word,
And made thy grace my only choice.