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PSALMS. . 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, in 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 Christiau 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 have 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 Mes*siah 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 to 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
Are we to go up. 10 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. Du we pray for victory over Moab, Edom, and 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 devotions, 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 dames, 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 chosen to celebrate the Gospel mysteries in the words of these ancient hyinns, 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 Coostantine, 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 vinety-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 heathen, his worshi "unto all people,' &c. &c. In these and the like Psalms, we coutinue to praise God fo all his 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 hut there are a few other points on which it may be proper to remark; and first, as the application of the Psalms to the Messiah in the New Testament. Our humble op nion is, that when such application is used by way of argument, as in proof of his cr cifixion or resurrection, it must be considered as the direct and proper meaning of ti Psalm ; but that when the application is only cursory or transient, it may be consider by way of accommodation, as we often quote poetical writers, both inspired and uni spired. The same remark may be applied to quotations from the Law and the prophe which are sometimes cited in argument, and at others only by way of allusion, to dete mine which, the context in both testaments must be consulted.
The divine authority of the book of Psalms, bas, we believe, never been controvert by those who admit ihe inspiration of any part of the Old Testament: nor can it with any appearance of rearon, since they are so often referred to by our Lord and apostles as inspired : about half these have David's name prefixed, and others may p
he sacred nderstood divide ili figured in
to this Erine, for ediately wish and marks, Tessiah. - would ct and
Mes. ut e be tole
Acts ii. 29, 30,) and he was unquestionably an eminent type of the Messiah, as we shall
. 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 Inwoduction to the book of Job. Seven of these are in a peculiar form, which we call Acrostic, pamely, Psalms xxv., IIur., 1xxvii., cxi., cxii., cxix., cxlv., two of which are ascribed to David (Psalm xxxiv. and cxlv.) 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 ebapter 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. = of
We have said, the Psalms are poetical; and, as Mr. Hartuell Horne remarks, they tre do
present every possible variety of Hebrew poetry. They may all, indeed, be termed poems of the lyric kind; that is, adapted to music: but with great variety in the style si composition. Thus some are simply odes. An ode (according to Bishop Horsley) is a dgnified sort of song; a narrative of the facts, either of public history, or of pripat hfe, in a highly adorned and figured style. . Others, again, are ethic, e didactie, delivering grave maxims of life, or the precepts of religion, in kalean, but, for the most part, simple strains.' To this class we may refer the 119th, and the other alpbabetical Psalms, which are so called because the initial letters of esh line or stanza followed the order of the alphabet. Nearly one-seventh part of the Pralins are elegiac, or pathetic compositions on mournful subjects. Some are enigmatic, delivering the doctrives of religion in en g matu; sentences contrived to strike ibé 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 can be no doubt that the first music attempted by man, was that of the human voice,
“ More tunable than needed late or harp
Milton. e is aiso highly probable that the first exertions of that voice were (as the same great et expresses it)“ unmeditated," and could only, therefore, be in the form of chant, questionably the only method adapted to uumeditated strains; which has been pled in the public worship of almost all nations, and is still retained among both s and Greeks, and in the cathedral worship of both Roman Catholics and Protestants.
to Musical Instruments, pone seem to have been originally used in the tabernacle re, but the silver trumpets of the priests ;t though on festival occasions, and in
processions, we read of the timbrel and harp, as accompanying the sacred s, and the devotions of the prophetic schools . David, however, who was himpractical musician, a poet, and a prophet, invented some instruments, $ and ss improved others. He also established regular choirs of Levites.ll who, in the de Psalms, replied to each other. (See Ps. xxiv.) The ove choir, probably, being adieu by stringed instrunients, as the psaltery and harp; and the other by winei 2Uts, as the organ, &c.,
Of these instruments we shall take some further s the names oceur, and hope to throw some little light on points which have erably obscured by learned meu, totally unacquainted with the science or
music, o greatly enlarged the number of performers, and had the worship of the oducted in a more maguificent scale ;* yet the temple itself was so small as
s Introd. vol. ij. p.150. Horsley's Book of
4 Amos vi. 5.
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 harps upon the willows." The fame of their former musical excellence must; however, have reached their enemies, for they or required of them a song," to which they properly replied, “How can we siug 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 au interpreter and a poet, and in whose first edition (now before us) are some useful hints, wbicb, we re gret to say, are omitted in all the modern editions. And we shall occasioually 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 ou Joh; 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 the 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 then 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 them.
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; 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 gospet; 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 the imagination. Indited under the iufluence of Him to whom all hearts are known, and profit and to please, they inform the understanding, elevate the affections, and entertain all events furek nown), they suit mankind in all situations; grateful as the manna which descended from above, and conformed itself to every paláte. The fairest
produc. tions of humau wit, after a few perusals, like gathered towers, wither in our hands, and lose their fragravey; 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 bath 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 Nots.
Essay on Church Music," which has been long ot 4 Ps. cxxxvii. l-4. On the Music of the He. brews, the Editor begs to refer to his « Historicai bably be presented to the public in a new form.
of print, but which, if his life is spared, may pri Ver 6. The Lord knoneth-That is, approveth and is may be rendered impersonally, Its
[of the riyhteous.
also shall not wither; and whatsoever
he doeth shall prosper.
not in the counsel of the ungodly, like the chaff which the wind driveth
2 But his delight is in the law of stand in the judgment, nor sinners in
6 For the Lord knoweth the way 3 And he shall be like a tree planted of the righteous : but the way of the by the rivers of water, that bringeth ungodly shall perish. (A)
selves become tempters to others, and ad-
, on the presumption that on his col- which others spend in sinful pursuits
“ comfort in the dark and dreary seasons This psalm contains a contrasted view of of adversity.” The enemy, when advance the character of the righteous and the ing to the assault, will always find him well wiched
, with the blessings which atteud eni ployed, and will be received with the former, and the miseries which await “ Get ibee bebind ine, Satan;" as he was the latter. The blessedness of the good repulsed by our divine Redeemer. man ariseth, not from riches, por pleasures, Such an one is compared to “a tree hot gay companions, nor great connexions; planted by the rivers :" He is planted bei
, un the contrary, from a total separa- by the “river of the water of life;' and as ting from sin and sinners. “ Blessed is this nourishes his root, his leaves of prolle man that walketh not in the counsel fession are ever green, and his fruits of of the ungodly.” Ahaziah, we are told, righteousness abundant. (Jer. xvii. 11.) "walked in the way of Ahab ; for his mo- But“ the ungodly are not so." Like chaft iber Athaliah) was his counsellor to do winnowed iu the open air, as in the eastern wickedly;" which led, as wickedness al- countries is the custom to this day, his x11.2–4.) Those who walk in the coun“to his destruction.” (2 Chron. hopes and expectations shall all be scat
tered. Neither his character uor his acis of such men, will be found often tions will stand the trial of affliction, or of tanding,” or stopping, in their way, and death; much less shall be " stand in the ejmes seating themselves in the chair judgnient, or he numbered in the congreescomers; those who make a scoff and gation of the righteous.” “ For the Lord be of all religion. Here is intimated Knowetb them that are his :" (2 Tim. ii. 19.) dation in vice. " The way of ini- his eye is upon the way of the righteous, says Mr. Henry, “ is down hill; both to guide them and guard them; and I grow worse, and siuners then they are blessed, while sinners perish.
NOTES. 1. Ver. 1. Blessed.-The Hebrew word produceth) shall prosper.” “ A tree is said to make anal, “ Blessings" on the man!
fruit when it beareth it." Jer. xvii. 8.--Ainsnorth. bo lax-is here not to be taken for the
Ver. 5. In the judgment--The judgment here io. dments only, but for the whole revealed
tended, is evidently in last judgment; the congre.
ment-seat of Christ. Bishop Horne. 'ither - Marg. “ fade;"" more literally,
acknowledgeth. See Ps. xxxi. 7; Amos iij. ?: 200 wither, and whatsoever it louih (os
lait. nr. 12.
7 I will declare the decree: the
LORD hath said unto me, Thou art
. 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, 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 David.—The kings of the earth (or of grief and repentance are in other places : the land) are explaineil(Acts iv. 26,27.) to be God is vot affected by human passious; 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 the 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
have them in derision." (See a gorgeons robe, sent him again to Pilate; Gen. iii. 20—24. aud 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 sometlıing 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 JEHOVAH, 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 contempt upon all human righteous exercise of authority and power ;
NOTES. PSALM II. David's name is not prefixed to this Ver. 4. The Lord – Adonai, not JEHOVAN, 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 illustrionis 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 capitals whom David was a type only. (Actsiv. 25, &c. xiii. 33.) The Targum also refers (it) to the Messiah. So do
here, however, all the printed Bibles in Hebrew we
have consulted, read Adopai, “ Lord;" yet mos the Bereshith Rabba, the book Jalkuth, (Zohar) and copies of our authorized version we have seen otbers of the Talmudical writings." So Solomon print the word iu capitals, as if it were JKHOTARE Jarchi confesses, in these words. "Our masters have which Dr. Boothroyd says is the reading of man 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," Dthe Minim, (heretics, i. e. the Christians) it is better J. P. Smith : "confound,” Dr. Chandler. to interpret it of Darid himself." (Dr. Smith's Ver.6. I hare set-Heb.“ anointed." -NIụ ho 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 lie Ver. 1, Wan do the heathen-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," S then: we restrain it to pagan, or idolatrous nations. Note on Genesis xlix. 10.
- Rage ? - Marg. " Tumultuously asseinble."- Ver. 12. Perish from the ray-Or“ by the way Tiagine-Heb. “Meditate," design.
or on the road.” Dr. J. P. Smith. K1864 Ver. 3. Bands .... cords.--This implics rebel. used not only as an act of submission, but als lion, or renouncing all allegiance.
tolatry. I Kings xix. 18; Hoy. xiii. 2,