« ForrigeFortsett »
cannot fail of making a very wrong judgment. It is to be sought for in the sacred writings of the prophets, who have given us sufficient assurance, that they understood the law not according to the letter. Our religion, io like manner, is true and divine in the Gospels, and in the preaching of the apostles, but it appears utterly disfigured in those who maim or corrupt it.'” (p. 1.)-We subjoin another extract :
“ It is obvious, that every part of the Psalter, when explicated according to this scriptural and primitive method, is rendered universally · profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness;' and the propriety immediately appears of its having always been used in the devotional way, both by the Jewish and the Christiax church. With regard to the Jews, Bishop Chandler very pertinently remarks, " that they must have understood David, their prince, to have been a figure of Messiah, • They would not otherwise bave made his Psalms part of their daily worship, nor would. • David have delivered them to the church to be so employed, were it not to instruct and support them in the knowledge and belief of this fundamental article. Was the Messiah not concerned in the Psalms, it were absurd to celebrate, twice a day, in their public devotions, the events of one mau's life, who was deceased so long ago as to have po • relation now to the Jews and the circumstances of their affairs; or 10 transcribe whole
passages from them into their prayers for the coming of the Messiah. Upon the same principle, it is easily seen that the objections which may seem to lie against the use of Jewish services in Christian congregations cease at once. Thus it may be said, Are we concerned with the affairs of David and of Israel? Have we any thing to do with the ark and the tensple? They are no
Are we to go up to Jerusalem, and to worship on Sion?. They are desolated and trodden under foot by the Turks. Are we to sacrifice young bullocks according to the law? The law is abolished never to be observed again. Do we pray for victory over Moab, Edom, aud Philistia, or for deliverance from
Babylon? There are no such nations, no such places in the world. What then do we mean, when taking such expressions into our mouths, we utter them in our own persons as parts of our devotious, before God? Assuredly, we must mean a spiritual Jerusalem and Sion, a spiritual ark and temple, a spiritual law, spiritual sacrifices, and spiritual victories over spiritual enemies, all described under the old names, which are still retained, though old things are passed away, and all things
are become new. By substituting Messiah for David, the Gospel for the Law, the church Christian for that of Israel, and the enemies of the one for those of the other, the Psalms are made our own : nay, they are with more fulness and propriety applied now to the substance, than they were of old to the shadow of good things (then) to come.' And, therefore, ever since the commencement of the Christian era, the church hath ehosen to celebrate the Gospel mysteries in the words of these ancient hymns, rather than to compose for that purpose new ones of her own. For, let it not pass unobserved that, when, upon the first publication of the Gospel, the apostles had occasion to utter their transports of joy on their being counted worthy to suffer for the name of their dear Lord and Master, which was then opposed by Jew and Gentile, they brake forth into an application of the second Psalm to the transactions then before their eyes; (see Acts iv. 25.) The primitive Christians constantly followed this method in their devotions; and particularly, when delivered out of the hands of persecuting tyrants by the victories of Constantine, they praised God for his goodness, and the glorious success and establishment of Christ's religion, no words were found so exquisitely adapted to the purpose as those of David, in the ninety-sixth, ninety-eighth, and other Psalms
Sing unto the Lord a new song; sing unto the Lord, all the earth : ... be telling • of his salvation from day to day. Declare his honour unto the heatben, his worsbip
unto all people,' &c. &c. In these and the like Psalms, we coutinue to praise God for all bis spiritual mercies in Christ to this day." (Preface, p. xxiii.)
After these excellent remarks, it is needless for us to enlarge upon the same topics ; but there are a few other points on which it may be proper to remark; and first, as tu the application of the Psalms to the Messiah in the New Testament. Our humble opinion is, that when such application is used by way of argument, as in proof of his cru: cifixion or resurrection, it must be considered as the direct and proper meaning of the Psalm; but that when the application is only cursory or transient, it may be considered by way of accommodation, as we often quoie poetical writers, both inspired and uniospired. The same remark may be applied to quotations from the Law and the prophets, which are sometimes cited in argument, and at others only by way of allusion, to determine which, the context in both testaments must be consulted.
The divine authority of the book of Psalms, bas, we believe, never been controverted by those who admit the inspiration of any part of the Old Testament: vor can it be with any appearance of red on, since they are so often referred to by our Lord and his apostles as inspired : about half these have David's name prefixed, and others may proINTRODUCTION. bably have been written by him, which have not his name. Twelve bear the name of Asaph, two that of Solomon, one that of Moses, and two others those of Hemau and . Ethan. David is described in the New Testament both as a patriarch and a prophet, (Acts ii. 29, 30,) and he was unquestionably an eminent type of the Messiah, as we shall have frequent occasion to observe as we proceed.
In the New Testament, the whole number of the Psalıns are considered as one book, (Luke XX. 42; Acts i. 20.) but the Jews divide it into five, as follows:-Book 1. Psalm i. to xli.-II. Psalm xlii. to lxxii.-III. Psalm 1xxiii. to Ixxxix.-IV. Psalm xc. to cvi. V. cvii. to el. Each of these books closes with Amen or Hallelujah: but the antiquity of this division is uncertain, as is also that of the titles of some of the Psalms, which we shall consider as they occur. All the Psalms are admitted to be poetical; and on the Hebrew poetry we have offered a few suggestions in our Intoduction to the book of Job. Seren of these are in a peculiar form, which we call Acrostic, pamely, Psalms xxv., xxxix., Ixxvii., cxi., cxii., cxix., cxlv., two of which are ascribed to David (Psalm xxxiv. and exlv.) and are the earliest specimens of that kind of composition in the Bible, and in the world. The only scriptural acrostics beside these, are part of the thirty-first chapter of Proverbs and the book of Lamentations; and they were so written probably with a view to assist the memory, and to be learned by rote. We bave said, the Psalms are poetical; and, as Mr. Hartwell Horne remarks, they
present every possible variety of Hebrew poetry. They may all, indeed, be termied poems of the lyric kind ; that is, adapted to music : but with great variety in style of compositioa. Thus some are simply odes. An ode (according to Bishop Horsley) is a dignified sort of song; a narrative of the facts, either of public history, or of priFate life, in a highly adorned and figured style.. Others, again, are ethic, or didactic, delivering grave maxims of life, or the precepts of religion, in
solemn, but, for the most part, simple strains. To this class we 'may refer the 119th, and the other alphabetical Psalms, which are so called because the initial letters of eart line or stanza followed the order of the alphabet. Nearly one-seventh part of the Pealins are elegiac, or pathetic compositions on mournful subjects. Some are enigmatic, delivering the doctrines of religion in enigmata ; sentences contrived to strike the imagination forcibly, and yet easy to be understood; while a few may be referred to the class of idyls, or short pastoral poems. But the greater part [of the book], according to Bishop Horsley, is a sort of " dramatic ode, consisting of dialogues between certain persons sustaining certain characters."*
These remarks naturally lead to some observations on the Hebrew Music, and on the manner of performing the Psalms in public worship. There cau be no doubt that the first music attempted by man, was that of the human voice,
“ More tunable than needed lute or harp
Milton. It is aiso highly probable that the first exertions of that voice were (as the same great poet expresses it) “ unmeditated," and could only, therefore, be in the form of chant, unquestionably the only method adapted to unmeditated strains; which has been adopted in the public worship of almost all nations, and is still retained among both Jews and Greeks, and in the cathedral worship of both Roman Catholics and Protestants.
As to Musical Instruments, none seem to have been originally used in the tabernacle service, but the silver trumpets of the priests;t though on festival occasions, and in public processions, we read of the timbrel and harp, as accompanying the sacred dances, and the devotions of the prophetic schools. I David, however, who was himself a practical musician, a poet, and a prophet, invented some instruments, and doubtless improved others. He also established regular choirs of Levites,|| who, in the Dialogue Psalms, replied to each other. (See Ps. xxiv.) The one choir, probably, being accompanied by stringed instrunients, as the psaltery and harp; and the other by wind iestruments, as the organ, &c. Of these instruments we shall take some further Dotice, as the names occur, and hope to throw sonie little light on points which have been miserably obscured by learned men, totally unacquainted with the science or history of music.
Solomon greatly enlarged the number of performers, and had the worship of the temple conducted in a more magnificent scale ;** yet the temple itself was so small as
* Herne's Introd. vol. ij. p.150. Horsiey's Book of
+ Num. 1. 2, 8, 10.
& Amos vi. 6.
PSALMS. to admit a part only of the Levites at a time ;* and on grand occasions, as the dedication of the temple, the chief parts of the performance must have been in the open air. After this time, every thing degenerated, and when the Jews went into captivity, they “ hung their barps upon the willows." The fame of their former musical excellence must, however, have reached their enemies, for they “ required of them a song,” to which they properly replied, “How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land ?" +
In entering upon this important book, we acknowledge ourselves first and principally indebted to Bishop Horne, whose expositions we have generally compared with the previous labours of Mr. Ainsworth and Bishop Patrick. Nor shall we forget the evangelical paraphrase of Dr. Watts, whom we respect, both as an interpreter and a poet, and in whose first edition (now before us) are some useful hints, wbicb, we regret to say, are omitted in all the modern editions. And we shall occasionally enrich our Exposition with a verse from him, as well as from Milton, and other poetical translators of the Psalms. The beautiful Lectures of Bishop Lowth will be consulted on this book, as well as on Job; and in our Notes we shall not neglect the original criticisms of Dr. Kennicott and Bishop, Horsley, though we confess we never follow without hesitation commentators on ihe sacred writers, who are so bold, as to treat an inspired writer with the same freedom as a heathen classic. We would use all diligence to ascertain the meaning of the sacred writers ; but we would also treat them with all reverence, carefully avoiding to attach to them any meaning, but that of the inspired authors. For this reason, we must be excused from following systematically, the scheme of interpretation adopted by Bishops Horne, Horsley, and other Hutchinsonian writers, though it will be seen we have seldom neglected to consult tbem.
We shall conclude this Introduction with another extract from the same learned and excellent writer with whose words we commenced. Speaking of David's Psalms, Bishop Horne adds, “ His invaluable Psalms convey those comforts to others which they afforded to himself. Composed upon particular occasions, yet designed for general use; delivered out'as services for the Israelites under the law, yet no less adapted to the circumstances of Christians under the gospel; they present religion to us in the most engaging dress, communicating truths which philosophy could never investigate, in a style which poetry can never equal; while history is made the vehicle of prophecy, and creation lends all its charms to paint the glories of redemption. Calculated alike to profit and to please, they inform the understanding, elevate the affections, and entertain the imagination. Indited under the influence of Him to whom all hearts are known, and all events foreknown, they suit mankind in all situations; grateful as the manna which descended from above, and conformed itself to every palate. The fairest productions of human wit, after a few perusals, like gathered flowers, wither in our hands, and lose their fragraycy; but these unfading plants of Paradise become, as we are accustomed to them, still more and more beautiful; their bloom appears to be daily heightened; fresh odours are emitted, and new sweets extracted from them. He who hath once tasted their excellencies will desire to taste them yet again; and he who tastes them oftenest, will relish them best." ' (Pref. p. lix.)
* See 1 Kings vi. 2, and Note.
+ Ps. cxxxvii. 1-4. On the Music of the He. brews, the Editor begs to refer to his " Historical
Essay on Church Music,” which has been long out of print, but which, if his life is spared, may probably be presented to the public in a new form.
[of the righteous. forth his fruit in his season; his leaf PSALM I.
also shall not wither; and whatsoever
he doeth shall prosper. BLESSED is the man that walketh 4 The ungodly are not so: but are
not in the counsel of the ungodly, like the chaff which the wind driveth por standeth in the way of sinners, nor away. sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not
2 But his delight is in the law of stand in the judgment, nor sinners in be Lord; and in his law doth he the congregation of the righteous. reditate day and night
6 For the Lord knoweth the way 3 And he shall be like a tree planted of the righteous : but the way of the the rivers of water, that bringeth ungodly shall perish. (A)
selves become tempters to others, and adIntroductory Psalm.-The blessed- vocates for Baal.” 'the righteous, and misery of the But tire blessed man “ delights in the -The author of this psalm is un- law and in the word of God," and spends
but many have ascribed it to those bours in reading and meditation, the presumption that on his col- which others spend in sinful pursuits iese sacred poems into a volume, abroad, or revellings at home. The good prefix this didactic (or precep- man makes the lively oracles of God his n, as a proper introduction to companion, and will' (as the excellent
It does not follow, however, Bishop Horne observes) “ have recourse ist have been his own compo- to them for direction in the bright and we know nothing of Ezra az a cheerful hours of prosperity;" and for
“ comfort in the dark and dreary seasons n contains a contrasted view of of adversity.” The enemy, when advancr of the righteous and the ing to the assault, will always find him well
the blessings which attend employed, and will be received with — od the miseries which await “ Get thee bebind me, Satan;" as he was "he blessedness of the good repulsed by our divine Redeemer. ot from riches, nor pleasures, Such an one is compared to “a tree nions, nor great connexions; planted by the rivers :" He is planted atrary, from a total separa- by the “river of the water of life;" and as and sinners. “ Blessed is this nourishes his root, his leaves of proalketh not in the counsel fession are ever green, and his fruits of
Ahaziah, we are told, righteousness abundant. (Jer. xvii. 11.) way of Ahab; for his mo- But“ the ungodly are not so." Like chaft was his counsellor to do winnowed in the open air, as in the eastern h led, as wickedness al- countries is the custom to this day, bis is destruction.” (2 Chron. hopes and expectations shall all be scatse who walk in the coun- tered. Neither his character nor his acn, will be found often tions will stand the trial of affliction, or of 'pping, in their way, and death; much less shall be “ stand in the themselves in the chair judgment, or be numbered in the congrese who make a scoff and gation of the righteous.” “ For the Lord ion. Here is intimated knowetb them that are his :" (2.Tim. ii. 19.)
«« The way of ini- his eye is upon the way of the righteous, nry, « is down bill; both to guide them and guard them; and 2, and sinners them- they are blessed, while sioners perish.
NOTES. sed.-The Hebrew word
produceth) shall prosper.” “ A tree is said to make Is * on the man!
fruit when it beareth it.” Jer. xvii. 8.--Ainsworth. not to be taken for the Ver. 5. In the judgment-Tbe judgment here ipit for the whole revealed tended, is evidently the last judgment; the congres
yation of the righteous, is their assembly at the judg« fade;"" more literally,
ment-seat of Christ. Bishop Horne.
Ver 6. The Lord knoweth--That is, approveth and ed impersonally, it's acknowledgeth. See Ps. xxxi, 7; Amos iij. %; hatsoever it douth (of Matt. xxv. 12.
7 I will declare the decree: the PSALM II.
LORD hath said unto me, Thou art
my Son; this day have l begotten thee. WHY do the heathen rage, and the 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee
people imagine a vain thing? the heathen for thine inheritance, and 2 The kings of the earth set them- the uttermost parts of the earth for thy selves, and the rulers take counsel to- possession. gether, against the LORD, and against 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod his anointed, saying,
of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces 3 Let us break their bands asunder, like a potter's vessel. and cast away their cords from us. 10 Be wise now therefore, O ye
4 He that sitteth in the heavens kings: be instructed, ye judges of the shall laugh: the Lord shall have them earth. in derision.
Il Serve the LORD with fear, and 5 Then shall he speak unto them rejoice with trembling. in his wrath, and vex them in his 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, sore displeasure.
and ye perish from the way, when his 6 Yet have I set my king upon my wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are holy hill of Zion.
all they that put their trust in him. (B)
opposition. Ridicule can only be ascribed (B) The kingdom of Messiah. A Psalm to Deity in the same figurative manner as of Dávid.—The kings of the earth (or of grief and repentance are in other places : the land) are explained(Acts iv. 26,27.) to be God is not affected by human passions ; the Jewish and Roman governors, “ Herod but his actions are explained in analogy and Pontius Pilate," who set themselves" with ours. Fools that scoff at God, and against Messiah ; particularly the former, make "a mock at sin," are given to whu, as if purposely to fulfil this prediction, know that they will reap the fruit of their “ with his men of war sei him at nought, own fully; and He whom they now deride, mocked him," and having arrayed him in will then“ have them in derision.” (See a gorgeons robe, sent him again to Pilate; Gen. iii. 20—24. and Exposition.) " and the same day Pilate and Herod were But to apply to the great subject of this made friends together.” (Luke xxiii. 11.) psalm: “The views which it gives of the “Thus they set themselves in array against Messiah (says Dr. P. Smith) are, that he him."
should be, in a peculiar sense, the Son of There is something peculiar in the man- God; that he should be entitled to the ner in which the Psalmist represents the homage of the world; that, pursuant to Lord Jehovan, as sitting upon the throne the appointment of the Almighty Father, of the universe, and looking down with the he should support his own throne by the most sovereigu contenipt upon all human righteous exercise of authority and power;
NOTES. PSALM 1. David's name is not prefixed to this Ver. 4. The Lord - Adonai, not JEHOVAR, as in psalm in our bibles; it is so in the Septuagint trans- ver. 2. As we sball frequently meet with both these lation, and the whole assembly of the apostles at- words in this book, we inay here observe, that when tribute it to his pen, and apply it to his illustrious the word " Lord occurs in small letters, it is the Son and Lord, as the anointed King of Israel, of former in the original, but the latter when in capituls: whom David was a type only. (Actsiv. 25, &c. xiii. 33.) here, however, all the printed Bibles in Hebrew we The Targum also refers (it) to the Messiah. So do have consulted, read Adonai, " Lord;" yet most the Bereshith Rabba, the book Jalkuth, (Zohar) and copies of our authorized version we have seen, others of the Talmudical writings." So Solomon print the word in capitals, as if it were J&HOTAN, Jarchi confesses, in these words. Our masters have which Dr. Boothroyd says is the reading of many expounded (this pealm) of the King Messiah ; but, Hebrew MSS, and he thinks the true one. according to the letter, and for furnishing answers to Ver. 5. Ver-Marg. “ trouble:" “ rebuke," Dr. the Minim, (hereties, i.e. the Christians) it is better J. P. Smith: "confound,” Dr. Chandler. to interpret it of David bimself." (Dr. Smith's Ver.6. I kare sel-Heb: anointed," My holy Scripture Testimony to the Messiah, vol. i. pp. 213, hill-Marg. " Zion, the hill of my holiness.". 215.)
Ver. 7. I will declare the decree - Messiah is here Ver. 1. Why do the heuthen-Heb. " the nations." introduced as speaking in his own person. The Jews called all nations beside their own her- Ver. 9. A rod of iron-"A sccptre of iron," See then: we restrain it to pagan, or idolatrous nations. Note on Genesis xlix. 10.
Rage?-Marg: " Tumultuously assemble."- Ver. 12. Perish from the way-Or" by the way;" Imagine-Heb. Meditate," design.
or on the road." Dr.J. P. Smith.kiss-was Ver. 3. Bands .... cords.--This implios rebel. used not only as an act of submission, but also of lion, or renouncing all allegiance.
telolatry. I Kings xix, 18; Hos. xiii, 2,