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the best critics, and that solution which seemed the most satisfactory, given in the concisest manner. Much labour hath here been bestowed, where little appears. The plan of every Psalm hath been attentively studied, with the connexion and dependence of its parts, which it is the design of the Argument to exhibit at one view, and of the Commentary to pursue and explain, from beginning to end.*

No person is more thoroughly sensible, than the author is, of the respect and gratitude due from all lovers of the sacred writings, to those who have laboured in the field of literal criticism. Great and illustrious characters, whose names will be had by the church in everlasting remembrance! All, who desire to understand the Scriptures, must enter into their labours, and make the proper advantage of them, as he himself hath endeavoured to do. But let us also bear in mind, that all is not done when this is done. A work of the utmost importance still remains, which it is the business of † Theology to undertake and execute; since, with respect to the Old Testament, and the Psalter more especially, a person may attain a critical and grammatical knowledge of them, and yet continue a Jew, with a veil upon his heart; an utter stranger to that sense of the holy books, evidently intended, in such a variety of instances, to bear testimony to the Saviour of the world ; that sense, which is styled, by the divines, the PROPHETICAL, EVANGELICAL, MYSTICAL, or As it is one great design of the following work to investigate that sense in many of the Psalms, this is the proper place to lay before the reader those grounds and reasons, upon which such investigation has been made.

That the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture, like all other good things, is liable to abuse, and that it hath been actually abused, both in ancient and modern days, cannot be denied. He who shall go about to apply, in this way, any passage, before he hath attained its literal meaning, may say what in itself is pious and true, but foreign to the text, from wbich he endeavoureth to deduce it. St. Jerom, it is well known, when grown older and wiser, lamented that, in the servours of a youthful fancy, he bad

SPIRITUAL

sense.

Nos Lectoris pium hunc laborem adjuvandum suscepimus : dum constitutis argumentis scopum attentioni figimus: dum scrutamur literam, et ex sacrá historiâ quantum possumus, omnia repetimus : dum annotamus quæ pietatem inflamment : alio eo exemplo quærenda indicamus. Bossuet Dissertat. in Psal. Cap. vii.

† Theologiæ insignis hic usus est, ut, verborum sensu exposito, rem intelligas. Elsner. Præfat. ad Obserwat. Sacr.

men

spiritualized the prophecy of Obadiah, before he understood it. And it must be allowed, that a due attention to the occasion and scope of the Psalms would have pared off many unseemly excrescences, which now deform the commentaries of St. Augustin, and other Fathers, upon them. But, these and other concessions of the same kind being made, as they are made very freely, of sense will consider, that a principle is not therefore to be rejected, because it has been abused ;'** since human errors can never invalidate the truths of God.

It may not be amiss, therefore, to run through the Psalter, ana point out some of the more remarkable passages, which are cited from thence by our Lord and his apostles, and applied to matters evangelical.

No sooner have we opened the book, but the second Psalm presenteth itself, to all appearance, as an inauguration-hymn, composed by David, the Anointed of Jehovah, when by him crowned with victory, and placed triumphant on the sacred hill of Sion. But let us turn to Acts iv. 25. and there we find the apostles, with one voice, declaring the Psalm to be descriptive of the exaltation of Jesus Christ, and of the opposition raised against his Gospel, both by Jew and Gentile.

In the eighth Psalm we imagine the writer to be setting forth the pre-eminence of man in general, above the rest of the creation; but by Heb. ii. 6. we are informed, that the supremacy conferred on the second Adam, the man Christ Jesus, over all things in heaven and earth, is the subject there treated of.

St. Peter stands up, Acts ii. 25. and preaches the resurrection of Jesus from the latter part of the sixteenth Psalm ; and, lo, three thousand souls are converted by the sermon.

Of the eighteenth Psalm we are told, in the course of the sacred history, '2 Sam. xxii. that “ David spake before the Lord the words of that song, in the day that the Lord delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul.” Yet in Rom. xv. 9. the 50th verse of that Psalm is adduced as a proof, that “the Gentiles should glorify God for his mercy in Jesus Christ, as it is written, For this cause will I confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.”

In the nineteenth Psalm, David seems to be speaking of the material heavens and their operations only, when he says, “ Their sound is gone out into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.” But St. Paul, Rom. x. 18. quotes the passage to

Bishop Hurd's Introduction to the Study of the prophecies, p. 64.

show, that the Gospel had been universally published by the apostles.

The twenty-second Psalm Christ appropriated to himself, by beginning it in the midst of his suffering on the cross; “My God, my God," &c. Three other verses of it are in the New Testament applied to him; and the words of the 8th verse were actually used by the chief priests, when they reviled him; " He trusted in God,” &c. Matt. xxvii. 43.

When David saith, in the fortieth Psalm, “Sacrifice and offer. ing thou didst not desire-Lo, I come to do thy will:" we might suppose him only to declare, in his own person, that obedience is better than sacrifice. But from Heb. x. 5. we learn, that Messiah, in that place, speaketh of his advent in the desh, to abolish the legal sacrifices, and to do away sin, by the oblation of himself, once for all.

That tender and pathetic complaint, in the forty-first Psalm, “Mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, wbich did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me," undoubtedly might be, and probably was, originally uttered by David, upon the revolt of his old friend and counsellor, Ahitophel, to the party of his rebellious son, Absalom. But we are certain, from John xiii. 18. that this Scripture was fulfilled, when Christ was betrayed by his apostate disciple_“I speak not of you all; I know whom I have chosen ; but that the Scriptures may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me, hath lifted up his heel against me.”

The forty-fourth Psalm we must suppose to have been written on occasion of a persecution, under which the church at that time laboured; but a verse of it is cited, Rom. viii. 36. as expressive of what Christians were to suffer on their blessed Master's account; "as it is written, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep appointed to be slain.”

A quotation from the forty-fifth Psalm, in Heb. i. 8. certifies us, that the whole is addressed to the Son of God, and therefore celebrates his spiritual union with the church, and the happy fruits of it.

The sixty-eighth Psalm, though apparently conversant about Israelitish victories, the translation of the ark to Sion, and the services of the tabernacle, yet does, under those figures, treat of Christ's resurrection, his going up on high, leading captivity captive, pouring out the gifts of the Spirit, erecting his church in the world, and enlarging it by the accession of the nations to the faith; as will be evident to any one who considers the force and consequence of the apostle's citation from it, Ephes. iv. 7, 8.

B

“ Unto every one of us is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gists unto men.”

The sixty-ninth Psalm is five times referred to in the gospels, as being uttered by the prophet, in the person of Messiah. The imprecations, or rather predictions, at the latter end of it, are applied, Rom. xi. 9, 10. to the Jews; and to Judas, Acts i. 20. where the hundred and ninth Psalm is also cited, as prophetical of the sore judgments which should befall that arch-traitor, and the wretched nation of which he was an epitome.

St. Matthew, informing us, Chap. xiii. 34. that Jesus spake to the multitudes in parables, gives it as one reason why he did so, " that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet; Psalm Ixxviii. 2. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world."

The ninety-first Psalm was applied by the tempter to Messiah: nor did our Lord object to the application, but only to the false inference which bis adversary suggested from it, Matt. iv.

6, 7,

The ninety-fifth Psalm is explained at large in Heb. iii. and iv. as relative to the state and trial of Christians in the world, and to their attainment of the heavenly rest.

The hundred and tenth Psalm is cited by Christ himself, Matt. xxii. 44. as treating of his exaltation, kingdom, and priesthood.

The hundred and seventeenth Psalm, consisting only of two verses, is employed, Rom. xv. 11. to prove, that the Gentiles were one day to praise God for the mercies of redemption.

The 22d verse of the hundred and eighteenth Psalm, “ The stone which the builders refused,” &c. is quoted six different times as spoken of our Saviour.

And, lastly, “the fruit of David's body,” which God is said in the hundred and thirty-second Psalm, to have promised that he would «

place upon his throne,” is asserted, Acts ii. 30. to be Jesus Christ.

These citations, lying dispersed through the Scriptures of the New Testament, are often suffered by common readers to pass unnoticed. And many others content themselves with saying, that they are made in a sense of accommodation, as passages may be quoted from poems or histories merely human, for the illustration of truths, of which their authors never thought. this (as a learned critic observes) is no fault, but rather a beauty in writing. A passage applied justly, and in a new sense, is ever pleasing to an ingenious reader, who loves to be agreeably sutra prised, and to see a likeness and pertinency where he expected

6 And

He has that surprise which the Latin poet so poetically gives to the tree;

• Miraturque novas frondes, et non sua poma."

The readers, who have been accustomed to consider the New Testament citations in this view of accommodation only, must perceive the necessity of such accommodation, at least, to adapt the use of the Psalms, as a part of divine service, to the times and circumstances of the gospel; and cannot therefore reasonably object, upon their own principles, to the applications made in the following sheets for that purpose. But not to inquire, at present, whether passages are not sometimes cited in this manner, surely no one can attentively review the above made collection of New Testament citations from the book of Psalms, as they have been placed together before him, withont perceiving that the Psalms are written upon a divine, preconcerted, prophetical plan, and contain much more than, at first sight, they appear to do. They are beautiful without, but all glorious within, like“ apples of gold in pictures, or net-work cases, of silver,” Prov. xxv. 11. The brightness of the casket attracts ouf attention, till, through it, upon a nearer approach, we discover its contents. And then indeed, it may be said to have “no glory, by reason of the glory that so far excelleth."*

Very delightful and profitable they are, in their literal and historical sense, which well repayeth all the pains taken to come at it. But that once obtained, a farther scene begins to open upon us, and all the blessings of the gospel present themselves to the eye of faith. So that the expositor is as a traveller ascending an eminence neither unfruitful nor unpleasant; at the top of which when he is arrived, he beholds, like Moses from the summit of mount ebo, a more lovely and extensive prospect lying beyond it, and stretching away to the utmost bounds of the everlasting bills. He sees vallies covered over with corn, blooming gardens, and verdant meadows, with flocks and herds feeding by rivers of water; till ravished with the sight, he cries out, as St. Peter did, at the view of his Master's glory," It is good to be here !"

It would be unreasonable to suppose, that no parts of the Psalms may by us be spiritually applied, but such as are already expressly applied for us by the inspired writers. Let any man

• 2 Cor. iii. 10.

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