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lot nor part in this matter; for giving no credit to the scripture account of things, either in the Old Testament or the New, to discourse with them concerning a connection and analogy subsisting between the one and the other, is to reason about a fifth sense with a man who has only four. For the conviction both of the Jews and Deists, other arguments are to be urged; arguments from undeniable miracles openly wrought, and plain prophecies literally fulfilled. Such proofs are "for them that believe not." And such have been repeatedly urged, in their full force, by many able champions, who have stood forth (success evermore attend their labours!) in defence of the Evidences of Christianity. Expositions and meditations, like those in the subsequent pages, serve not, nor are intended to serve, "for them who believe not, but for them who believe;"* who will exereise their faculties in discerning and contemplating the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, and who are going on unto perfection; to increase their faith, and inflame their charity: to delight them in prosperity, to comfort them in adversity, and to edify them at all times. Such effects, the author doubts not, will be experienced by believers, who will read his book with an honest and good heart, with seriousness and attention; for though he humbly trusts it will not be deemed altogether unworthy a place in the libraries of the learned, he builds chiefly on that approbation which he is solicitous it should receive in the closets of the devout; as considering, that it is LOVE, heavenly LOVE, which "never faileth; but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophecy in part; but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." They who find not the wished-for satisfaction in one proportion, will find it in another; they who disapprove of an interpretation at the first reading, may perhaps approve of it at the second; and they who still continue to disapprove of some particulars, will not therefore disdain to accept the benefit of the rest. He has written to gratify no sect or party, but for the common service of all who call on the name of JESUS, wheresoever dispersed, and however distressed upon the earth. When he views the innumerable unhappy differences among Christians, all of whom are equally oppressed with the cares and calamities of life, he often calls to mind those beautiful and affecting words, which Milton represents Adam as addressing to Eve, after they had wearied themselves with mutual complaints and accusations of each other :
But rise; let us no more contend, nor blame
B. X. V. 958.
Enough has been given to the arts of controversy. Let something be given to the studies of piety and a holy life. If we can once unite in these, our tempers may be better disposed to unite in doctrine. When we shall be duly prepared to receive it, "God may reveal even this unto us." To increase the number of disputes among us, is, therefore by no means the
what a noble argument may hence arise for the conviction and conversion of that extraordinary people, to whom they were originally communicated. when once the veil that is on their hearts shall be taken away, as by the same spirit of prophecy we are assured it shall!" The Bishop of Carlisle's Theory of Religion, p. 176, 6th edit.-With what transports of zeal and devotion, of faith and love, will they recite these holy hymns, in the day when the whole body of the Jews, returning to the Lord their God, shall acknowledge their unparalleled crime in the murder of their King, and their penitential sorrow for the same, perhaps, as his Lordship intimates, in the words of the fifty-first Psalm; "deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation; and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise. For thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it; thou delightest not in burnt-offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. O do good in thy good pleasure to Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem !" * 1 Cor. xiv. 22.
† 1 Cor. xiii. 7.
intent of this publication. The author having, for many years, accustomed himself to consider and apply the Psalms, while he recited them according to the method now laid down, has never failed to experience the unspeakable benefit of it, both in public and in private; and would wish, if it so pleased God, that death might find him employed in meditations of this kind. He has likewise frequently taken occasion, in the course of his ministry, to explain a Psalm upon the same plan, from the pulpit; and whenever he has done so, whether the audience were learned or unlearned, polite or rustic, he has generally had the happiness to find the discourse, in an especial manner, noticed and remembered. But still, many may be of a different opinion, who may conscientiously believe the doctrines, and prac tise the duties of the gospel, whether they see them shadowed out in the Psalms or not. Such will enjoy their own liberty, and permit their brethren to do the same. Or, if they shall think it necessary to take up the polemical pen, he desires only to receive that treatment which he has himself shown to every writer, cited, or referred to by him. Instead of engaging in a tedious, and, perhaps, unprofitable altercation upon the subject, he feels himself, at present, much rather inclined, in such a case, to follow, at his proper distance, the amiable example of his greatly respected Diocesan, who reprinted in England the objections made by a foreign Professor to some parts of his Lectures on the Hebrew poetry, and left the public to form its own judgment between them. From that public, the author of the following work is now to expect the determination of his fate. Should its sentence be in his disfavour, nothing farther remains to be said, than that he has honestly and faithfully endeavoured to serve it, to the utmost of his power, in the way in which he thought himself best able; and to give the world some account of that time, and those opportunities, which, by the Providence of a gracious God, and the munificence of a pious Founder, he has long enjoyed in the happy retirement of a college.
"I have lost a world of time," said the learned Salmasius, on his death-bed; "if I had one year more, I would spend it in reading David's Psalms, and Paul's Epistles."
† Deter igitur erratis meis venia: Ipse demum exemplo meo mihi prosim, qui neminem eorum, a quibus dissenserim, contumeliis affeci: qui non, vitio Criticorum, in diversæ sententiæ propugnatores acriter invectus sum; qui denique eam veniam antecessoribus meis libens tribui, quam ab iis, qui hæc in manus sumturi sint, velim impetrare. Pearce in Prafat. ad edit. Cic. de Oratore.
"In his si quæ sunt quæ mihi minus persuasit Vir Clarissimus, ea malui hoc modo libero Lectorum nostrorum judicio permittere, quam in disceptationem et controversiam, injucundam, et fortasse infructuosam vocare." Lowth, in Præfat. ad edit. 2dam Prælect. de Sacra Poesi Hebræorum." Authors should avoid, as much as they can," says another very learned critic, "replies and rejoinders, the usual consequences of which are, loss of time, and loss of temper. Happy is he who is engaged in controversy with his own passions, and comes off superior; who makes it his endeavour, that his follies and weaknesses may die before him, and who daily meditates on mortality and immortality." Jortin's Preface to his Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, p. xxxiv.
That the reader may the more easily turn to such Psalms as will best suit the present state of his mind, according to the different circumstances, whether external or internal, into which by the changes and chances of life, or the variations of temper and disposition, he may, at any time, be thrown, the common Table of Psalms, classed under their several subjects, is here subjoined.
1. Prayers for Pardon of Sin. Psalm 6, 25, 38, 51, 130. Psalms, styled Penitential, 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143.
II. Prayers composed when the Psalmist was deprived of an opportunity of the public exercise of religion. Psalm 42, 43, 63, 84.
III. Prayers wherein the Psalmist seems extremely dejected, though not totally deprived of consolation under his afflictions. Psalm 13, 22, 69, 77, 88, 143.
IV. Prayers wherein the Psalmist asketh help of God, in consideration of his own integrity, and the uprightness of his cause. Psalm 7, 17, 26, 35.
V. Prayers expressing the firmest trust and confidence in God under afflic tions. Psalm 3, 16, 27, 31, 54, 56, 57, 61, 62, 71, 86.
VI. Prayers composed when the people of God were under affliction or persecution. Psalm 44, 60, 74, 79, 80 83, 89, 94, 102, 123, 137.
VII. The following are likewise Prayers
in time of trouble and affliction. Psalm 4, 5, 11, 28, 41, 55, 59, 64, 70, 109, 120, 140, 141, 142. VIII. Prayers of intercession. Psalm 20, 67, 122, 132, 144.
Psalms of Thanksgiving. I. Thanksgivings for Mercies vouchsafed to particular persons. Psalm 9, 18, 22, 30, 34, 40, 75, 103, 108, 116, 118, 138, 144.
Psalm 45, 48, 65, 66, 68, 76, 81, 84, 98, 105, 124, 126, 129, 135, 136, 149.
Psalms of Praise and Adoration, dis
playing the Attributes of God. General acknowledgment of God's Goodness and Mercy, and particularly his care and protection of good men. Psalm 23, 34, 36, 91, 100, 103, 107, 117, 121, 145, 146.
II. Psalms displaying the Power, Majesty, Glory, and other attributes of the Divine Being. Psalm 8, 19, 24, 29, 33, 47, 50, 65, 66, 76, 77, 93, 95, 96, 97, 99, 104, 111, 113, 114, 115, 134, 139, 147, 148, 150.
I. The different characters of good and bad men; the happiness of the one, and the miseries of the other, are represented in the following. Psalm 1, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 24, 25, 32, 34, 36, 37, 50, 52, 53, 58, 73, 75, 84, 91, 92, 94, 112, 119, 121, 125, 127, 128, 133.
II. The excellence of God's Law. Psalm 19, 119.
III. The vanity of human life. Psalm 39, 49, 90.
IV. Advice to magistrates. Psalm 82,
V. The virtue of humility. Psalm 131.
Psalms more eminently and directly
II. Thanksgivings for mercies vouch
safed to the Israelites in general, Psalm 78, 105, 106.
THE BOOK OF PSALMS.
FIRST DAY.-MORNING PRAYER.
This Psalm, which is generally looked upon by expositors as a preface, or introduction to the rest, describes the blessedness of the righteous, consisting, ver. 1. negatively, in their abstaining from sin; 2. positively, in holy meditation on the scriptures, productive of continual growth in grace, which 3. is beautifully represented under an image borrowed from vegetation; as 4. is the opposite state of the unbelieving and ungodly, by a comparison taken from the threshing-floor. The two last foretell the final issue of things, with respect to both good and bad men, at the great day.
VER. "1. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful."
The Psalter, like the sermon on the mount, openeth with a "beatitude," for our comfort and encouragement, directing us immediately to that happiness, which all mankind, in different ways, are seeking and inquiring after. All would secure themselves from the incursions of misery; but all do not consider, that misery is the offspring of sin, from which it is therefore necessary to be delivered and preserved, in order to become happy, or "blessed." The variety of expressions here used by David, intimateth to us that there is a gradation in wickedness: and that he who would not persist in evil courses, or commence a scoffer at the mystery of godliness, must have no fellowship with bad men: since it is impossible for any one who forsakes the right path, to say whither he shall wander; and few, when they begin to "walk in the counsel of the ungodly," propose finally to sit down in the "seat of the scornful." O thou second Adam, who alone, since the transgression of the first, hast attained a sinless perfection, make thy servants "blessed," by making them righteous, through thy merits and grace!
"2. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in his law doth he meditate day and night."
He who hath once brought himself to "delight" in the scriptures, will find no temptation to exchange that pleasure for any which the world or the flesh can offer him. Such a one will make the lively oracles of God his companions by day and by night. He will have recourse to them for direction, in the bright and cheerful hours of prosperity; to them he will
apply for comfort, in the dark and dreary seasons of adversity. The enemy, when advancing to the assault, will always find him well employed, and will be received with" Get thee behind me, Satan !" When the law of God is the object of our studies and meditations, we are conformed to the example of our Redeemer himself, who, as a man, while he "increased in stature," increased likewise "in wisdom," and grew powerful in the knowledge of the law which he was to fulfil, and of those prophecies which he was to accomplish; so that, at twelve years of age he appeared to "have more understanding than all his teachers: for the divine testimonies had been his meditation," Psalm cxix. 99.
"3. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."
By continual meditation in the sacred writings, a man as naturally improves and advances in holiness, as a "tree" thrives and flourishes in a kindly and well watered soil. All the "fruits” of righteousness show themselves at their proper "season," as opportunity calls for them; and his words, which are to his actions what the "leaves" are to the fruit, fall not to the ground, but are profitable, as well as ornamental. Everything in him and about him serves the purpose for which it was intended; his brethren are benefited by him, and his Maker is glorified. How eminently is this the case with that TREE OF LIFE, which Jehovah planted in the midst of his new paradise, by the waters of comfort; a tree which sprung out of the earth, but its height reached to heaven, and its breadth to the ends of the world; its shadow is for the protection, its fruit for the support, and its leaves for the healing of the nations. It flourishes in immortal youth, and blooms for ever in unfading beauty. See Rev. xxii. 2.
"4. The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff, which the wind driveth away."
In the foregoing description of the righteous, all appeared verdant and fruitful, lovely and enduring; but here, by way of contrast, we are presented with nothing but what is withered and worthless, without form or stability, blown about by every wind, and at length finally dispersed from the face of the earth, by the breath of God's displeasure, and driven into the fire prepared for it. Such is the state, such the lot of the "ungodly ;" and so justly are they compared to " "chaff."
"5. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous."
A day is coming, when the Divine Husbandman shall appear with his "fan in his hand," and shall "thoroughly purge his floor." The wheat, which shall stand the winnowing of that day, will be gathered into the celestial granary; while the chaff, for ever separated from it, shall be hurried out of the floor, and carried, by a mighty whirlwind, to its own place. Then shall there be a "congregation of the righteous," in which "sinners shall not stand." At present wheat and chaff lie in one floor; wheat and tares grow in one field; good and bad fishes are comprehended in one net; good and bad men are contained in the visible church. Let us wait with patience God's time of separation.
6. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous; but the way of the ungodly shall perish."
In the present scene of confusion, we may be, and often are, deceived in the judgment we form of men. But it cannot be so with the Omniscient. "The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his," 2 Tim. ii. 19. Their good deeds are not unobserved, nor will they be forgotten by him. His eye seeth them in secret, and his hand will reward them openly, in the day of final retribution; when crowns of glory shall sparkle on the heads of the righteous, but shame and torment shall be the portion of the wicked; "the way of the ungodly shall perish.”