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The troubled soul sustained



David Dickson on Psalm 88 verse 18


David Dickson was a Presbyterian minister who was born in 1585 in Glasgow, Scotland. He was an only child, and one asked of the Lord by religious parents who had been childless for many years. Mr Dickson was first a pastor at Irvine in Ayrshire, where under his ministry “multitudes were convinced and converted” despite the fierce persecution under Prelacy. A very close and familiar friend of James Durham, one result of their friendship was the excellent “Sum of Saving Knowledge” which is usually bound with the Westminster Confession and the Catechisms. In the 1640’s he became a minister in Glasgow and professor of theology; in 1649 he moved to Edinburgh to be minister and professor at the college there until his death in 1662. 


18. Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness. 

The third and last part of the lamentation is repeated from v. 8 that there was no man compassionate toward him, none to pity him, none to counsel or comfort him, none to whom he might impart his mind fully for easing him; but his old friends, and such as loved him before, failed him and forsook him, and God made it manifest that he thrust them away from him; none were to bear him company, but he demeaned himself to sit solitary in darkness. So, then, learn, 1. Albeit a friend be made for the day of trouble, and albeit it would have been an ease to have had any friend's company for means of comfort, yet he could find none; God withheld them all for the trial of his servant here, and such a heavy and comfortless condition may be the lot of a beloved child: lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness. 2. In that he endeth the psalm without any comfort for the time, it maketh this psalm no less comfortable than any other psalm, because it showeth that he was supported insensibly for the time, and had comfort given him thereafter, so much as to make this sad complaint to be turned into song both to himself and to the church. It also teacheth that, seeing God can sustain a soul by secretly supporting a man's faith without comfortable sense, yea, and that under the saddest sense of wrath, therefore a believer in God must lay hold on God's goodness, promise, and covenant, and must trust still in the Lord, albeit he should seem to slay him; as the example of Heman the Ezrahite here teacheth us.



A COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS, by David Dickson. Published by The Banner of Truth Trust, 1985. pp106-107