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To him that presides upon Jonath-elem-rechokim; Michtam of David, when the Philistines took him in Gath.
The lord's temptations, in which his trust is fixed in the father, verses 1 to 4, 10, 11; the malice of the infernals, verses 5, 6; that the father would assist him in his affliction, verses 7, 8; that he shall be assisted, verse 9; thanksgiving for protection, verses 12, 13.
Verses 2, 5, 6. My adversaries would daily swallow me up, for they are many that fight proudly against me. Every day they wrest my words, all their thoughts are against me for evil. They gather themselves together, they hide themselves; they mark my heels as they lie in wait for my soul. Inasmuch as few are acquainted with the nature and circumstances of temptations, it may be expedient in this place to say a few words on the subject. Evil spirits never make assault against any thing but what a man loves, and their assault is violent in proportion to the intenseness of man's love; evil genii are those who assault what has relation to the affection of good, and evil spirits are those who assault what has relation to the affection of truth; as soon as ever they observe even the smallest thing which man loves, or perceive, as it were, by the smell what is delightful and dear to him, they instantly assault and endeavour to destroy it, consequently they assault and endeavour to destroy the whole man, inasmuch as his life consists in his loves; nothing is more pleasant to them than thus to destroy man, nor do they ever desist from their attempts, even to eternity, unless they are repelled by the lord; such of them as are more particularly principled in malignity and cunning, insinuate themselves into man's very loves, by soothing and flattering them, and thus they introduce themselves to man, and then presently after introduction they endeavour to destroy his loves, and by so doing kill the man, and this in a thousand ways and methods altogether incomprehensible; nor do they carry on their assaults only by reasonings against goodnesses and truths, such assaults being of small account, (for if they were baffled a thousand times, still they would persist in their attempts, inasmuch as reasonings against goods and truths can never be wanting) but they pervert goods and truths, and enkindle a sort of fire of lust and persuasion, so that a man does not know but that he is immersed in a like lust and persuasion, and herein they excite at the same time a delight, which they fraudulently steal from man's delights, derived from other sources, and thus with the utmost cunning they infect and infest, and this so artfully, by leading from one thing to another, that unless the Lord was ready to administer help, man would never know any other but that he is really such as their suggestions represent him. In like manner they assault the affections of truth, which form man's conscience, as soon as ever they perceive any principle of conscience whatever, framing to themselves an affection out of the falses and infirmities belonging to man, and by this affection overshadowing the light of truth, and thereby perverting it, or causing anxiety, and thus occasioning pain and torment; moreover they have the are of keeping the thought fixed intently on one object, whereby they fill it with phantasies, and thus at the same instant clandestinely insinuate lusts into those phantasies; not to mention innumerable other artifices, which it is impossible to describe so as to give any just conceptions of them; what falls under the immediate notice of man's conscience, which the evil spirits take particular delight in destroying, will suggest but a partial and most general idea of those artifices. From this brief account of temptations, which yet from its brevity can scarcely be called an account, it may in some measure appear what is their nature and quality, and that in general they are such as are the kinds and degrees of man's love: hence also it may appear that the lord's temptations were the most grievous of all, inasmuch as the violence of the temptation is proportioned to the love; the lord's love was a most ardent desire for the salvation of the whole human race, consequently it was all the affection of goodness and truth in a supreme degree; against this love and affection all the hells fought with the most malignant cunning and envenomed malice, but still the lord overcame them all by his own proper power. AC 1820.
Verse 6. They mark my heels. See Psalm 49:5. Exposition.
Verses 12, 13. Your vows are upon me, O God; I will render praises to you, for you have delivered my soul, etc. When man emerges out of temptation, then light appears with its spiritual heat, that is, truth with its good; hence he has gladness after anxiety; this is the morning which succeeds night in the other life: the reason why in such case good is perceived, and truth appears is because after temptation truth and good penetrate towards the interiors, and are in-rooted; for when man is in temptation, he is as it were in the hunger of good, and in the thirst of truth, wherefore when he emerges, he takes in good as a hungry man does meat, and receives truth as a thirsty man does drink; and besides when light from the Divine [being] appears, falses and evils are removed, and when these are removed, there is a passage made for truth and good to penetrate more interiorly: these are the reasons why after temptations the good of love appears with its light from the lord. AC 6829.
Verse 13. For you have delivered my soul from death, yea, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before god in the light of the living. To walk with god is to teach and live according to the doctrine of faith; but to walk with jehovah is to live a life of love; to walk is a usual expression signifying to live, as to walk in the law, to walk in the statutes, to walk in the truth; to walk properly respects a way, which is the way of truth, consequently which is of faith, or of the doctrine of faith; that this is the signification of walking, may be manifest from the word, as in Micah, "He has showed you, O man, what is good, and what does jehovah require of you, but to do judgement, and to love mercy, and to humble yourself by walking with your god?" Micah 6:8, where to walk with god, signifies to live according to what was declared. And in David, "You have delivered my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before god in the light of the living," where to walk before god is to walk in the truth of faith, which is the light of the living. AC 519.
That to live, or to be alive, signifies spiritual life belonging to man, and that to be dead signifies the deprivation of that life, may be manifest from several passages in the word, as in David, "Behold the eye of jehovah is on them that fear him, to deliver their soul from death, and to make them alive in famine," Psalm 30:18, 19; again, "You have delivered my soul from death, yea my feet from stumbling, to walk before god in the light of the living." AE 186.PSALMS 56 Other translations - previous - next - meaning - Psalms - BM Home - Full Page