ページの画像
PDF
ePub

ful qualities does he ascribe to the infidel, the denier of God in his heart! The foul exhalations of the sepulchre in their throat; deceit in their tongues; poison under their lips; cursing and bitterness in their mouth; their feet swift to shed blood; destruction and unhappiness in their ways; ignorance of the way of peace; blindness to the fear of the Omnipotent and offended God; having no knowledge, that is, no common sense; workers of mischief; devourers and oppressors of the humble and needy, until they even ceased to call upon the Lord, being, as the Psalmist affirms, in great fear where no fear was; by reason that the Israelite indeed and the true Christian are never deserted by their Heavenly Father, for God is in the generation of the righteous: though the infidel will mock at them, because they put their trust in the Lord.

Ver. 11. Our Prayer Book translation of this verse is somewhat obscure, and that of the Bible more so; and our best Commentators do not clearly explain it. I take it, however, as an aspiration of the Psalmist in behalf of that portion of the Israelites who were then in bondage, and far from that beloved home, which is so pathetically lamented in the 137th Psalm. This is at least a reasonable interpretation. But if it also bear, as others suppose, a more spiritual meaning, as a prayer for the deliverance of the captives from the spiritual darkness that necessarily surrounded them in a heathen land; then may we, brethren, draw consolation from the reflection, that we are enjoy ing the glorious liberty of the children of God; that our lines are cast in pleasant places; that we have the knowledge of the glory of God in Christ Jesus, as revealed to us in the everlasting Gospel, and ministered to us from Sabbath, to Sabbath; and that if we are doers of the Word, and not hearers only, neither principalities nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore,

Glory be to the Father, fc.

D

LECTURE V.

PSALM 15.

The conditions of acceptance with God, as set forth in this Psalm, although they

have a sole reference to the dispensation of the Law, are not less necessary to be observed under that of the Gospel; wherein we find throughout, the reiteration and enforcement of the doctrine of the necessity of practical godliness, so well compressed in that one precept of the Apostle to Titus; that the professors of Christ's religion should be instructed in the necessity of maintaining good works; for that they are good and profitable unto men. The Psalmist's doctrine here leads the same point, ough delivered without the immediate sanction of our great High Priest, the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls.

Ver. 1–7. The entire Psalm is a continuous catalogue of the moral qualifications which entitle a man to be considered a faithful professor of Religion, and consequently a worthy member of the Holy Catholic Church of God upon earth. For these practical virtues are the evidences of the faith that abideth within: and however independent of the sanctions of the Gospel, are fully confirmed by the requirements of the later dispensation. A good tree cannot produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit; wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. John the Baptist warned his hearers not to rely upon their natural prerogatives for salvation; not to boast that they had Abraham for their father, as though the virtues of the patriarch were sufficient for all who should descend from him. Every tree must be valued for the fruit it bears, from whatever stock it had been raised; and that which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. The Psalmist has anticipated this evangelical doctrine but by a different figure. Lord, who shall dwell in thy Tabernacle: or who shall rest upon thy holy hill ? Not the hypocrite whose religious profession is an untimely blossom, put forth for shew; but he that like a tree planted by the water-side bringeth forth

his fruit in due season: that is, he who lives, and thinks, and speaks, and acts, as becomes his profession : in his acknowledgment of a supreme Lawgiver he will not be puffed up with spiritual pride, as if free from all obligations of duty to his brethren and his neighbours; but in all his actions will be constrained by the law of love to do unto all men as he would they should do unto him. It is of the doer of the work of this law that St. James pronounces that he shall be blessed in his deeds; and the Psalmist's judgment of him is equally encouraging :-Whoso doeth these things shall never fall.

PSALM 16.

This is a memorable Psalm, as predictive of Christ's triumphant resurrection, and

as having been quoted by St. Peter on the day of Pentecost, when preaching to an immense assemblage of Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven; (Acts. ii ;) upon which occasion, it is recorded, three thousand sonls were converted, and baptized, and added to the Church of Christ. David was himself unquestionably a vivid type of the Messiah; but as the type is necessarily inferior in dignity to the person who is thereby prefigured, the Psalmist, though speaking throughout in his own person, almost imperceptibly advances from out of himself, as it were, into a prophetic style of language, that can be applicable to none but the true David, the risen Son of God. The Psalm is in short, an effusion of mingled terms, some of which apply to the writer only and personally, some to him as the type of the Messiah, some to Christ exclusively. Every portion, however, is expressive of David's faith in the divine promises.

Ver. 1, 2. These two verses can be interpreted only as an outpouring of prayer of the Psalmist's own heart: they implore the almighty protection on the plea that in God alone is his entire trust; that this trust is the very life and sustenance of his soul; that he places no reliance upon any temporal wealth for his happiness or safety; but acknowledging the supreme Lord of heaven and earth to be his God, on Him only he relies for preservation and every attendant blessing. Even in these verses, however, there is a foreshadowing, not only of his own

approaching sovereignty, but of that universal dominion of which David's establishment on the throne of Israel is an acknowledged type; for he thus makes known his determination of the manner in which he will conduct his government:

Ver. 3—5. Here it is seen that not only was the kingdom of Israel a prefiguration of that of Messiah; but that David himself was a true type of the great Pattern of Holiness, Jesus Christ the Son of God, the Godhead manifest in the flesh. For as He announced to his disciples, that the Holy Spirit should reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; so David, moved by the same Spirit, proclaims his resolve to signalize his coming reign, by the protection and encouragement of all such as excel in virtue; and by his marked abhorrence of the unbeliever and the profane idolater: so that their very names shall be held by him in too great abomination to be pronounced by his lips.

Ver. 6—8. In these verses is perceptible the mingled sense, applicable to the condition and experience of the anointed king of Israel, and prophetic of those of Messiah, when He should come upon earth to establish his kingdom. David confesses of himself, that all he possesses or hopes for is his inheritance under the divine promise; and is therefore confident that his lot in life will be maintained by the same gracious Power who bestowed it. And here is a grateful acknowledgment, that his heritage is a goodly possession in a fair land, the prospect of which he enjoys the more, for having experienced the warning chastisements of the Lord, in his past progress towards his high earthly destiny. And it must be borne in mind, that much of our Saviour's recorded language has a resemblance to this; that much of his experience, while fulfilling his ministry here, had been foreshadowed in the life of David; He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and He was ever prayerfully and humbly acknowledging, that the portion of his inheritance and of his cup was of his

Heavenly Father; which is strongly exemplified, typically, in the following verses.

Ver. 9—12. The two leading verses of this portion bear the double application ; for while they are descriptive of David's faith, and of the gladness of heart which he derived from it; they are accommodated to the evangelical histories of our Saviour's daily life. In every utterance of his lips, in every action of his life, in his frequent retirements for private prayer, in his fastings, in the recorded temptations He sustained, and in his conflicts with a stubborn and faithless generation, the man Christ Jesus uniformly evinced his consciousness of the everwatchful Presence of his Heavenly Father, and of his all-sufficient support in every appointed trial. It is in his human character only that we can apply these prophetic passages to the Son of God: for in his seasons of special communion with God the Father, He was withdrawn from the pressure of his temporal sufferings, and could rejoice in the certainty, that after He should have passed the pangs of crucifixion and death, his flesh should rest in hope ; corruption should have no power over that body which He had taken upon Him, as the instru"ment of redeeming mankind from the consequences of spiritual corruption: the path of Life, that state of perfect existence of which we, brethren, can form no clear conception, lay before Him; the path that should lead to the fulness of joy which is diffused only in the eternal and inalienable Presence of the ever-blessed Trinity; and where, at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty on high, the seat of supremest honour, He should employ Eternity in the holy delight of receiving and dispensing pleasure for evermore!

PSALM 17.

This is a prayer of David: but, as the foundation of his hope that his prayer will be heard, he institutes a comparison between his own claims to Divine Mercy before the judgment-seat of the All-seeing God, and those of his enemies; and professes

« 前へ次へ »