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The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia

Penitential Psalms

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Being the 6th, 32d, 38th, 51st, 102d, 130th and 143d Psalms of David, all of which are read during the services on ASH WEDNESDAY (which see). There are no prayers more fitted for penitent sinners than the Seven Penitential Psalms, if we enter into the feelings of compunction, love, devotedness and confidence with which the Royal Psalmist was penetrated. The purport of each psalm may be briefly stated as follows:

Psalm 6 exhibits a sinner in earnest and hearty prayer after having sinned, with assured hope and confidence in the mercy of God.

Psalm 32 shows how a sinner is brought to understand his sins, to confess and bewail them and obtain remission.

Psalm 38, in which the penitent earnestly prays to God to pardon his sins and mitigate his punishment.

Psalm 51 shows the great sorrow of a sinner for his sins.

Psalm 102 shows how a sinner in affliction of mind prays to God and derives comfort from His help and goodness.

Psalm 130 shows how a sinner in tribulation cries to God for deliverance; while

Psalm 143 may be used in any spiritual or temporal tribulation.

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Bibliography Information
Miller, William James. Entry for 'Penitential Psalms'. The American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia. 1901.

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