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Bible Commentaries

Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms

Psalms 15

Verses 1-5


Psalms 15:1-5.

V. 1. It is probable that, as soon as the ark was stationed on mount Zion, the Psalmist addressed himself to God ; desirous of being taught who would be the accepted and persevering worshipper at his tabernacle. This was typical of the true church of God on earth ; all the members of which are heirs also of heaven. (Note, Hebrews 12:22-29 The enquiry, therefore, is virtually this : Who is he, that so worships God in this world, as to have a well grounded hope of eternal life hereafter ? It is not enquired, what are the grounds of a sinner’s acceptance with God : on this subject we are fully instructed in other parts of scripture : but the question is, What are the characteristick marks of those who are thus accepted, by which they may be distinguished from all other persons ?

And the answer is evidently in perfect consistency with the New Testament, and especially with St. John’s first epistle, viz. ’ They may be distinguished by their sanctification.’

(Notes, 1 John 2:3-6; 1 John 2:26-29; 1 John 3:4-10; 1 John 3:18-24; 1 John 5:1-5.) Thus believers are conformed in their measure to Christ, the perfect exemplar : and the character, here given of them, forms a beautiful contrast to that of ungodly men, as delineated in the preceding psalm. (Mare. Ref.) ’

V. 2, 3. " The fruits meet for repentance ; " " the " work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope," " the fruits of the Spirit," and " the things which accom" pany salvation," are here compendiously enumerated, or rather pointed out, in some of the most striking and observable particulars. (Notes, Luke 3:10-14. Galatians 5:22-26. 1 Thessalonians 1:1-4. Hebrews 6:9-10.)

V. 4. " The vile person" is an openly wicked-and ungodly man, who renders himself base and contemptible by his crimes. (Notes, 1 Samuel 25:23-31. Daniel 10:21.)

Persons of this description may be exalted in station, and abound in wealth ; and many will pay court to them : but the true servant of God will form a j uster estimate of their character and state. He will neither envy their prosperity, nor give any sanction to their impiety. If they be magistrates, he will honour them, as the ministers of God in this official character ; in other respects he will express compassion for their misery, but a marked disapprobation of their wickedness. (Marg. Ref.) In the common prayerbook, this clause is rendered ’ He that setteth not by himself, but is lowly in his own eyes.’ This indeed is one part of the true believer’s character ; but the Hebrew cannot be thus translated. The Septuagint render the last clause, " He that sweareth to his neighbour, and changeth " not ; " which translation requires only a little alteration in the pointing.

V. 5. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Exodus 22:25-27. Nehemiah 5:1-13. Ezekiel 18:5-13.) The concluding clause of this verse, in the original, is emphatical. " He that doeth " these things shall not be moved for ever," or to eternity. The formal, nay, plausible worshippers at the tabernacle ; the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob ; and the most zealous contenders for the law ; might be moved from their stedfastness, and perish : but none would be moved for ever, or come short of eternal life, who really bore the character here delineated. (Notes, Psalms 24:3-6. 2 Peter 1:5-11. John 2:18-19.)


We should all, with hearts devoutly lifted up to God in prayer, enquire who they are, that so " walk with him in " his ordinances and commandments," as to possess a well-grounded assurance of dwelling with him in heaven for ever. If we would ascend after our risen Saviour to that holy habitation, we must copy his example; for " without holiness no man shall see the Lord." This will both evidence our title to " the inheritance of the saints in " light," and prepare us for it. If we be indeed born again, and led by the Spirit, of Christ, we shall bring forth " the " fruits of the Spirit, in all goodness, righteousness, and " truth." Unfeigned piety ; constant and conscientious integrity in all our dealings ; sincerity and fidelity in all our professions and engagements ; and abhorrence of slander in all its hateful forms ; a carefulness not to injure any man, in body or soul, in his connexions, property, reputation, or peace ; a mind deeply humbled before God in self- abasement for sin, yet superior to flattering or fawning on wicked men from selfish motives ; and disposed to love jnd honour the image of God in the poorest and meanest of his people ; a willingness to recede from every personal advantage, rather than seem to do evil ; and, at the same time, a determination to adhere scrupulously to duty and conscience ; a disposition to keep at the utmost distance from oppression and injustice, and to cultivate humanity and benevolence to the poor and afflicted ; a union of all these tempers, and this habitual conduct, can only spring from repentance of sin, faith in the Saviour, and love to his name and cause ; and therefore they form an unequivocal proof of our acceptance in him. The man who bears this character, cannot be induced to apostasy ; he cannot come short of glory : " He that doeth these things shall " not be moved to eternity." In these respects let us examine and prove our own selves ; knowing that the image of Christ is thus, in some measure, "formed in us, except " we be reprobates." (Note, 2 Corinthians 13:5-6.)

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Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 15". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. 1804.