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endearedness betwixt Jonathan and David, passing the love of women. Nothing cements men's spirits so much as grace; piety begets sympathy; religion produceth bonds and bowels of compassion. Christian fellowship is the sweetest friendship, and friendship is called the salt that seasons a man's life; *but amongst wicked men there is no true friendship; † only converting grace turns the hearts of fathers to their children, and of children to their fathers; gospel grace makes the wolf to dwell with the lamb, and sweetens men's spirits towards each other; yea, as the curtains of the tabernacle were joined by loops, so are real Christians joined by love; the more love the more union. Christianity pares off the roughness and rigidness of men's spirits, and makes them lie even in God's building; they that were hateful, hating one another, now are meek, gentle, tender-hearted, and easy to be entreated. The sweet cement which in one sure band connects the whole frame, is love and charity.

2. But the principal work of our religion is the connecting of God and man together, and this is chiefly effected by the bond of the covenant. "As the girdle cleaves to the loins of a man, so" saith God, "have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and Judah," Jer. xiii. 11. This is so generally owned to be the business of religion, that Plato calls it the soul's union to God, and he describes his philosopher, to be one akin to truth, and the end of philosophy to be assimilation to God, so far as is possible; yea, not only is this in act but in habit, by a propensity of the soul to God and goodness; even as there is in our eyes

• Condimentum vitæ. Mal. iv. 6. Isa. xi. 6.

+ Inter impios non est amicitia. Tit. iii. 2, 3. James iii. 17, 18. § Συγγενὴς τῆς ἀληθείας.-ὁμοίωσις τῷ Θεῷ κατὰ τὸ duvarov.-Plato, in Timæo.

a congenial kind of cognation or similitude to the light, which renders the contemplation thereof very pleasing; so it is between the mind and truth, the subject must bear some proportion to the object. Holy souls can only be united to a holy God; "evil dwells not with him; the throne of iniquity hath no fellowship with him; but the pure in heart shall see God, and the upright shall dwell in his presence.”* Now this joining to the Lord is most properly by covenant; "Let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant, that shall not be forgotten," Jer. 1. 5. O blessed conjunction, that lays the foundation of eternal communion! "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit."† As there is an ineffable unity of the three persons in the glorious Trinity, and an hypostatical union of two natures in one person, so there is a mystical union of Christ and believers, as head and members make one body; they are actuated by the same Spirit of Christ, yet this union destroyeth not their personal individuality, nor doth it make them Christ, as the plants live by the sun beams, yet are not the sun; and though we cannot comprehend this union, yet certainly there is such a close conjunction, see 1 Cor. xii. 12, 13.

This joining to the Lord by personal covenanting, I am to insist upon from the text under hand. I shall not spend time needlessly to shew who was the penman of this Psalm, whether Asaph or David? when, or upon what occasion it was penned? whether, when the angel of the Lord appeared and appointed the habitation of the ark, 1 Chron. xxi. 18, 22; or what time the judgment so magnificently described must commence? whether it has respect to the prophet's present convic

Psal. v. 4. xciv. 20. Matt. v. 8. Psal. cxl. 13. + 1 Cor. vi. 17. 1 John v. 7. Isa. vii. 14.

tion of what he describes, or the appearance of the Messiah, or the solemn day of judgment at last, or all these? Mal. iii. 2. Acts xvii. 31.

The design of the Psalm is, partly to reprove and protest against the common miscarriage of professors of religion, who satisfy their own consciences, and fancy they please God with external and ceremonial performances, but neglect the most necessary, and fundamental duties of piety, justice and charity; partly to instruct men concerning the nature of God's acceptable worship; partly to prepare the Israelites for, and tacitly to warn them of that change of their worship by the Messiah, and abolition of legal sacrifices, which God appointed not for the people's perpetual use, or because he had a necessity for them himself; for the time of reformation would, and did change priesthood, officers and orders, sacraments and church affairs, and put all things into a new garb and mould; to this most commentators apply this Psalm, and "rightly," saith Mollerus, "according to my judgment," and I find few dissent from it; Stephen's whole apology, Acts vii, argues the same very strenuously, that since such ceremonial worship was not instituted when Abraham was called, and was omitted mostly in the wilderness, therefore it was not principally intended, but secondarily, and for a season, and should have its period in gospel days.

The context presents us with a magnificent preamble, and introduction to this solemn judgment; represented in a poetical style, wherein we have:

1. The tribunal erected out of Zion, the perfection of beauty.

2. The glorious Judge, our God shall come-a fire shall devour before him; alluding to his awful appearance on mount Sinai.

3. The witnesses are summoned, he calls the earth from sun-rising to sun-setting, to be spectators and witnesses of his righteous procedure.

4. The persons concerned, good and bad, gracious souls or wretched delinquents; "He shall call to the heavens above, and to the earth that he may judge his people," ver. 4. Heaven must send down holy souls, earth must yield up bodies out of its repositories, and hell must produce damned spirits to stand before God's splendid tribunal.*

5. Here is the general commission to God's officers to bring forth all the seed of Adam; as if he had said, Go ye angels, summon and fetch them to my tribunal. These are sent "with a great sound of a trumpet, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.Ӡ

6. We have the trial of the malefactors, and convincing evidence of God's dealings with the sons of men answering their cavils from ver. 6, to ver. 22.

7. The sentence is passed, judgment also threatened, and will be certainly executed without repentance, verse 22.

To come closer to the words, which are a description of the persons who shall make their solemn appearance before this glorious tribunal.

The main query is, who are these saints? Some say the Levites, because he designs to abrogate the legal sacrifices; others say, the merciful ones, well doers, either actively, those that do good, or passively, those to whom he does good, so the word is taken, Psal. lxxxvi. 2. The Israelites are certainly meant by this word, saints, because they had made a covenant with him by sacrifice; but whether it be sincere worshippers, or common formal professors it is disputed. Some think * 1 Thess. iv. 16. Isa. xxvi. 19. Rev. xx. 13. + Matt. xxiv. 31.

it is the whole body of the people of Israel, good and bad, sinners and hypocrites; they are all called saints, because they were all by profession a holy people, devoted to God; others think that by an irony they are so denominated, intimating how unworthy they were of that name, as the master called the unworthy guest, friend; others think this is a notable conviction of them, and evidence against them to aggravate their present apostacy, since God had separated them from all nations of the earth, to be a peculiar people to himself; yea, they had solemnly and frequently devoted themselves to God, as his faithful servants. Oh lamentable degeneracy!

But I am more disposed to think it refers to real saints, sanctified souls, upright-hearted worshippers.

1. Because both are described and distinguished in this Psalm; the godly by "offering unto God thanksgiving, and paying their vows to the Most High,” ver. 14; that is the most welcome sacrifice, a verbal, cordial, and sincere gratitude; a heart flaming on God's altar with heavenly praises, and paying not only ceremonial but moral vows, these are preferred to all sacrifices, as this and other scriptures testify.‡

2. Because this agrees with the context and design of the Psalm, which demonstrates the invalidity and insignificancy of all their sacrifices, except therewith they made a solemn covenant with God. Take the sense of the text in this paraphrase, as if it were,I the great Jehovah, being about to judge the world, give out my orders to angels, to bring forth my sanctified ones, the king's seed, in order to their solemn coronation, and though they have been scorned by a company of formalists, that pleased themselves in pompous and ceremonial worship, and imagine they please Psal. Ixix. 30, 31.

* Deut. xiv. 2.

Matt. xxii. 12.

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