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enemies reproached and reviled him, “shaking their heads, and saying, Al, thou that destroyest the temple and buildest it in three days, save thyself,” &c. Matt. xxvii. 39. Nor are we to suppose our Lord thus praying for his natural body only, but also for his mystical body, the church, that from all distresses, persecutions, and insults, the members of that boily may in time be delivered, like their blessed Head, by a joyful resurrection to eternal life.
26. Help me, O Lord my God ; 0 save me, according to thy mercy. 27. That they may know that this is thy hand ; that thou Lord hast done it.
The resurrection of Christ was to be the great demonstration of Jehovah's power; and it was published as such by the apostles, to all the nations of the world, who thereupon believed and were converted. The Jews alone hardened their hearts against that proof, and continued impenitent.
28. They will curse, but thou shalt bless : when they arise, they shall be ashamed; but thy servant shnli rejoice. 29. Mine adversaries shall be clothed with shame : and they shall cover themselves with their own confusion as with a mantle.
The apostate sons of Israel, though they have been so long confounded and blasted by the breath of heaven's displeasure, yet continue cursing and blaspheming, as it is here foretold that they should do.
But God hath blessed his Son Jesus, and through him all nations, who have been adopted into his family, and made his children by baptism; yea, and they shall be blessed, and enter by thousands and millions into the joy of their Lord, in that day when his crucifiers shall have no covering but their own shame and confusion.
30. I will greatly praise the LORD with my mouth: yea, I will praise him among the multitude. 31. For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul.
The former of these two verses is parallel to that which St. Paul citeth from Psa. xxii. 22. “ He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee,” Heb. ii. 11. Great is the joy of the redeemed upon earth; greater will it be, after the resurrection of the dead, in the courts of heaven. Jesus, unjustly put to death, and now risen again, is a perpetual advocate and intercessor for his people, ever ready to appear on their behalf, against the iniquitous sentence of a cor; rupt world, and the malice of the grand accuser.
XXIII DAY. MORNING PRAYER.
In this Psalm, David prophesieth concerning, 1. the exaltation
of Christ; 2. the sceptre of his kingdom; 3. the character of his subjects; 4. his everlasting priesthood; 5, 6. his tremendous victories and judgments; 7. the means of his obtaining both kingdom and priesthood, by his sufferings and resurrection. Parts of this prophecy are cited and applied in the New Testament, by our Lord himself, Matt. xxii. 43. by St. Peter, Acts ii. 34. by St. Paul, 1 Cor. xv. 25. Heb. v. 6. The church likewise hath appointed it as one of the proper Psalms to be read on Christmas-day. It appertaineth literally and solely to King Messiah.
1. The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
We are here informed of Jehovah's eternal and unchangeable decree concerning the kingdom of Messiah, its extension, power, and duration. That Messiah should, after his sufferings, be thus exalted, was determined in the divine counsel and covenant, before the world began. Whetber we suppose the Psalmist to be speaking of that determination, or of its actual accomplishment at the time of Christ's ascension into heaven, it maketh no great difference. The substance of the decree is the same. It was addressed by the Father to the Son, by Jehovah to Messiah, whom David in spirit styletb '37x, my Lord ; one that should come after him, as his offspring according to the flesh; but one in dig. nity of person, and greatness of power, far superior to him, and to every earthly potentate; King of kings, and Lord of lords; God and man united in one person. To this person it was said by the Father, “Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy foot-tool :" in other words, seeing, O my Son Messiah, thou hast glorified me on the earth, and finished the work which I gave thee to do, the great work of man's redemption; take now the throne prepared for thee from the foundation of the world; behold, all power is given unto thee; enter upon thy mediatorial kingdom, and reign till every opposer shall have submitted himself to thee, and sin and death shall have felt thy all-conquering arm.
2. The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Sion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
In the foregoing verse, David related the words spoken by the Father to the Son. In this he himself, as a prophet, directeth his speech to King Messiah, predicting the glorious consequences of his enthronization, and the manner in which his enemies are to be made his footstool. The rod, or sceptre of Christ's strength is his word, accompanied by his Spirit. The law was given to Israel from Sinai, but the gospel went forth from Sion; it was preached to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem; Luke xxiv. 47. there began the spiritual kingdom of Jesus; there were the first converts made; and from thence the faith was propagated by the apostles to the ends of the earth. This David seeing beforehand, cries out, “Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies!" Go on, victorious Prince; plant the standard of thy cross among the thickest ranks of the adversary; and, in opposition to both Jew and Gentile, tumultuously raging against thee, erect and establish thy church throughout the world! This was accordingly done with marvellous speed and success; and the church, thus erected and established among the nations, hath been as marvellously preserved in the midst of her enemies unto this day, yea, and the world shall sooner be destroyed than she shall cease to be preserved.
3. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness : from the womb of the morning thou hast the dew of thy youth.
The blessed effects of the gospel, upon its publication, are here foretold. The people of Christ are those given him by his Father, and gathered to him by the preachers of his word. The day of his power is the season of their conversion, when the corruptions of nature can no longer hold out against the prevail. ing influences of grace; when the heart, will, and affections, turn from the world to God; and they make, as the first disciples did, a free and voluntary offer of themselves, and all they have, to their Redeemer. T'hen it is that they appear in the beauties of holiness, adorned with humility, faith, hope, love, and all the graces of the Spirit. With regard to the last clause of this verse, Bishop Lowth, in his admired Lectures, * has observed, and
proved, that it may be fairly construed to this effect—"More than the dew from the womb of the morning is the dew of thy progeny;" that is, Thy children, begotten to thee through the gospel, shall exceed in number, as well as brightness and beauty, the spangles of early dew, which the morning discloseth to the delighted eye of the beholder. The whole verse, therefore, containeth a lively character of the subjects of Christ's spiritual kingdom, who are described by their relation to him as his people; by their willingness to obey and serve him; by their honourable attire, the rich
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and splendid robes of holiness; and by their multitudes, resembling the drops of dew upon the grass.
4. The Lord halh sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek.
From Christ's regal office, and the administration thereof by the sceptre of his word and Spirit, the prophet passeth to his sacerdotal office, which was also conserred on him by the decree of the Father, and that decree, as we are here told, ratified by an oath; “ Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent, or, change his purpose.” The oath of God was the great seal of heaven, designed to intimate the importance of the deed to wbich it was set, and " to show to the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel,” Heb. vi. 17. Whether this oath passed at the actual consecration of Messiah to the priesthood upon his ascension, or at his designation thereto by the covenant before the world, sufficient it is for our assurance and comfort that it did pass. We have a Priest in heaven, who standeth continually pleading the merits of his sacrifice once offered upon the cross; “ who ever liveth to make intercession for us;" and who is ready at all times, to bless us, “ by turning away every man from his iniquities;" Acts iii. 26. by aiding us against our enemies, and supporting us under our necessities. Oblation, intercession, and benediction, are the three branches of the sacerdotal office, which our great High Priest now exerciseth for us, and in the exercise of which the Father hath condescended in the most awful manner to promise, that he will hear and accept him on our behalf. His priesthood is not, like that of Aaron, figurative, successive, and transient, but real and effectual, fixed and incommunicable, eternal and unchangeable, according to that pattern of it exhibited to Abraham, before the law, in the person of Melchizedek, Gen. xiv. 18—20. and discoursed upon at large by the apostle, Heb. vii. throughout.
5. The Lord upon thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. 6. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies ; he shall wound the heads over many countries; Heb. the head over much country.
This is a description of the vengeance which King Messiah should take on his impenitent adversaries. By “The LORD, or, my Lord upon thy right hand,” 733 by "the same person must undoubtedly be understood, who is mentioned in the first verse under the same title, '378 as “sitting at the right hand of Jehovah." And the Psalmist, who has hitherto addressed himself to Messiah, or the Son, must be supposed now to make a sudden apostrophe to Jehovah, or the Father; as if he had said, “This, my Lord Messiah, who sitteth at thy right hand, O Jehovah, shall smite through kings in the day of his wrath ;" the kings of the earth will endeavour to destroy his religion, and put an end to his kingdom : the Neros, and Domitians, the Dioclesians, the Maxentiuses, the Julians, &c. shall stand up, and set themselves in array against him; but the Lamb shall overcome them; he shall judge and punish the heaiben princes, with their people, when in arms against his church; he shall raise up those who shall successfully fight his battles, and strew the ground with their carcasses. As Messiah hålh done to the antichristian power of old, so shall be do to all others, before, or at his second advent. There is a day of forbearance, during which he will have his church to be, like himself, oppressed and afflicted, humble and resignedl; but there is also a future day of wrath and recompense, when the sins and provocations of her persecutors shall be ripe for judginent; when their triumphs and her sufferings shall be at an end; when they shall fall for ever, and be shall ascend to heaven.
7. He shall drink of the brook, or, torrent, in the way, and therefore shall he lijl up his head.
The means, hy which Christ should obtain his universal kingdom and everlasting priesthood, seem here to be assigned. In his way to glory, he was to drink deep of the * waters of affliction; the swollen torrent occurred in the way, and presented itfelf between him and the throne oi God. To this torrent in the way the Saviour descended; he bowed himself down, and drank of it for us all; and THEREFORE, 13. Sy did he lift up his head; that is, he arose victorious, and from the valley, in which the torrent ran, ascended to the summit of that holy and heavenly mount, where he reigueth
* The Hebrew word sa signifies, in general, “ a current of water,” which may be either a turbid, overwhelming torrent, or a clear and gentle stream. In Ps. xviii. 5. it denotes the “floods of ungodliness :" in Ps. Xxxvi. 8. it is used to signify the 'river of divine pleasures.” Hence arises an ambiguity in the interpretation of the words, “He shall drink of the brook in the way,” which may be expounded either of the sufferings Christ tasted, or the refreshments he experienced : as the waters are supposed to be those of affliction, or those of comfort. Either way, the sense is good and true, as it relates to Messiah. Torrents, or the overflowing of rivers, in the Scripture language certainly, as Dr Durell observes, do often de. note afflictions, as in Ps. xviii. 4. cxxiv. 4, 5. cxliv. 7, &c. the being oppressed by them, is also described by the action of drinking, Ps. Ix. 3. lxxv. 8, &c. And the idea of a brook in the way, or the ROAD, seems to favour this exposition. But the author advances it, as becomes him to do, with great deference and submission, since Bishop Lowth and Mr. Merrick are of a different opinion.