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idolatry of Egypt, that ancient adversary and oppressor of Israel.*_The Christian church, in like manner, through faith in the power of her Lord, risen from the dead, and ascended into heaven, prayeth for the confusion of her implacable enemies, who delight in opposing the kingdom of Messiah.
“ 31. Princes, or, ambassadors, shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.”
The hostile powers being overthrown, and the church of Israel fully established, the nations around her, even those which had been most given to idolatry, sued for her friendship, and came to Jerusalem with their gifts and oblations ; as, in like manner, after the defeat of Maxentius and Niaximin, the Roman empire, with all its tributary provinces, was added to the church of Christ.
“32. Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth ; 0 sing praises unto the LORD."
6 Rapt into future times," the prophet exhorteth, not Judea only, but all “the kingdoms of the earth," to unite in chanting forth the praises of their God and Saviour. In the fulness of time, this exhortation was heard and obeyed. For Eusebius thus describes the state of the church in the days of Constantine : " There was one and the same power of the Holy Spirit, which passed through all the members; one soul in all; the same alacrity of faith; one common consent in chanting forth the praises of God.” Euseb. Eccles. Hist. B. x. Chap. 2. And it deserves notice, that the primitive Christians, when delivered from the rage of persecuting tyrants, they freely celebrated their holy festivals, could find no words so well calculated to express the joy and gladness of their hearts, as the songs of Moses, and David, and the prophets, which seemed to have been divinely penned on purpose for their use, upon that glorious occasion. The reader may see several very curious and beautiful instances of this, in the opening of the tenth book of Eusebius's History, and in the panegyric there recorded to have been spoken by him, in a full ecclesiastical assembly, to Paulinus, bishop of Tyre, upon the consecration of that church.
“33. To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old; lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice."
The praises of the church are sung to him who, after his sufferings here below, reascended to take possession of his ancient throne, high above all heavens; who from thence speaketh to the world by his glorious Gospel, mighty and powerful, as thunder, in its effects upon the hearts of men. See Psalm xxix. throughout. The power of Christ's voice, when he was on earth, appeared by the effects which followed, when he said, “ Young man, arise;" * Lazarus, come forth ;” “ Peace, be still :" and it will yet farther appear, when "all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of man, and come forth.”
" 34. Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds, Heb, the skies."
God requires his people to ascribe unto him the kingdom, and the power, and the glory; to acknowledge him as the author of life, health, and salvation, of all they are, and all they have, in nature and in grace; to glorify him as the Creator and Governor of the world, the Redeemer and Sanctifier of his church.
s or mone belle sue se
om Cryoti populo tuo invidentem, increpa etiam optimates qui inter populos honore et viribus eminent, argenteis clavis, vel aliis insignibus ornati. Bossuet. See Bishop Lorth. Prelect. vi. ad fin. edit. 8vo. The sense of the verse cannot be better expressed than it is by Mr. Merrick, in his version:
The beast, that from his reedy bed,
« 35. O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God."
The Psalmist, here exemplifying the precept laid down in the foregoing verse, ascribes to God the glory of his appearance in the sanctuary, as the God and King of Israel, terrifying and dismaying his enemies, comforting and invigorating his people. Such is the presence of a glorified Saviour, by his Spirit, in the Christian church. For this, and all other his mercies, she is bound continually to say, and, by her holy services continually doth she say, BLESSED BE God.
THIRTEENTH DAY.-EVENING PRAYER.
ARGUMENT. The application of many passages in this Psalm to our Lord, made by himself
and his apostles, as well as the appointment of the whole, by the church, to be used on Good Friday, direct us to consider it as uttered by the Son of God in the day of his passion. 1-5. He describeth his sufferings, undergone for the sins of men ; 6, 7. prayeth that his disciples may not be offended at the pain and shame of the cross ;" 8-12. relateth the usage he met with at the head of the Jews ; 13-19. maketh his prayer to the Father ; 20, 21. complaineth of his desolate estate, of the reproach cast upon him, and the gall and vinegar administered to him ; 22–28. foretelleth the judgments of heaven, about to fall upon the Jewish nation ; 29. returneth to the consideration of his own sorrows and prayeth for deliverance ; 30, 31. praiseth the Father for the accomplishment of that deliverance ; 32, 33. exhorteth all men to come and partake of it, and 34. the whole creation to join in a chorus of thanksgiving for it ; 35, 36. predicteth the salvation, edification, and perpetuity of the church.
“1. Save me, O God, for the waters are come in unto my soul. 2. I sink into deep mire, where there is no standing : I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.”
The Gospels imform us concerning the constancy and patience of Christ under his sufferings: the sufferings themselves (those in particular of his soul) are largely described in the Psalms; many of which, and this among the rest, seem to have been indited beforehand by the Spirit, for his use in the day of trouble. As the head of the church, he here beseecheth the Father ió “save," through him, his mystical body. He compares the sad situation into which he was brought, to that of a drowning man. The Divine displeasure, like a stormy tempest, was let loose upon him ; the sins of the world, as deep mire, enclosed and detained him, whilst all the waters of affliction went over his head, and penetrated to his vitals.
"3. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried : mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.”
This verse describes the effects of those supplications, which the Son of God offered up, “ with strong crying and tears, in the days of his flesh;" Heb. v. 7.; of that thirst, which through loss of blood on the cross, “dried his throat;" and of that long and patient endurance, when his “eyes failed," and were closed in darkness, while his faith "waited" for the deliverance promised by the Father. The hour is coming, when our eyes must fail, and be closed; but even then, “let us wait for our God:" in this respect “ let us die the death of that righteous” person, who died for us; " and let our last end be like his.”
* In con seseo pet apud Christianos, in Psalmo Ixix. nobis ob oculos poni Christum, eumque pas. sum. Nos addimus, eumque crucifixum, quia evangeliste Matthæus, Marcus, et Johannes, vigesimum secundum certe circumstantiæ crucifixionis Christi applicarunt- Notatum igitur volumus, Christum in tota bac sua ad patrem supplicatione, (est enim cjusdem argumenti cum Ps. xxii.) describere mortis et calamitatis suæ genus, ut maxime pudendum, et ignominiosum. Item, ad ver. 8. 20, 21.-Christus nullas hic negligit voces, quæ probrum aut ignominiam status, in quo tunc eral, designare valent. Vitringa, Obscrv. Sacr. Lib. II. Chap. x.
"4. They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away."
The Jews, the Romans, and the spirits of darkness, make up that multitude of enemies, which, like a herd of evening wolves, surrounded the Lamb of God, thirsting after his blood, nor resting, till they had drawn forth the very last drop of it from his heart. And thus, the only innocent person in the world suffered for all its guilt, making satisfaction for wrongs which he never did, and “restoring that which he took not away."*
“5. O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee."
These words, in the mouth of David, or any other sinful son of Adam, are plain enough. They may nevertheless be spoken, as the rest of the Psalm is, in the person of Christ, concerning the iniquities committed by us, but “ laid on him;" which he therefore mentions as if they had been his own; the head complaining of diseases incident only to the members.t
66 6. Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel. 7. Because for thy sake I have borne reproach ; shame hath covered my face."
The Son of God prefers a petition to the Father, that his disciples may not be scandalized on account of his passion, or be tempted to relinquish their trust in God, at beholding his only and beloved Son forsaken on the cross; since it was not for any demerit of his own, but for the sake of God's glory, as well as man's salvation, that he “bore reproach, and shame covered his face.” It ought to be the prayer of every Christian, especially if he be a minister of the Gospel, that his sufferings in the world may not give just offence to the brethren, or the church; which they never will do, if he suffer in a good cause, with a good conscience.
“8. I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children. 9. For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.”
The Jews were Christ's “ brethren” according to the flesh. To them he was a “stranger and an alien." "He came to his own, and his own received him not.” “We know," said they, “ that God spake unto Moses; but as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.” And again, 6. Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil," John i. 11. ix. 29. viii. 4.8. The ground of all this enmity was the “ zeal" of Christ for the reformation and purification of the church, which he manifested in his reproofs and exhortations, as also by the emblematical act of driving the buyers and sellers out of the temple. Upon this latter occasion the evangelist tells us, “His disciples remembered that it was written,” that is, it was predicted of Messiah in this Psalm, “ The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up," John ii. 17. Therefore, as he adds immediately, “The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me." In calumniating and blaspheming the works of the Son of God, the Jews reproached both the Father who gave him those works to do, and the spirit by which he did them; all which reproaches fell on the man Christ, as the visible instrument employed in the doing of them. This last passage is thus quoted and applied by St. Paul_ Even Christ pleased not himself; but as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me," Rom. xv. 3. The usage our Lord met with
*"Quæ non rapui"--Ex personá Christi: ita mecum agitur, ac si rapta ab altero, ab altero, eoque innoxio, repetas: neque enim impiorem exemplo, Deo rapui honorem debitum ; pro eis solvo quicunque rapueruut , sicut scriptum est; “Propter scelus populi mei, percussi eum." Isa. liji, 8. Bossuet.
† So this verse is interpreted by the Fathers, and many of the commentators, cited by Poole, in his Synopsis-Thus also Bossuet-"Insipientiam meam et delicta mea"-Quæ in me suscepi. "Quia posuit in eo Dominus iniquitates omnium nostrum." Isa. liii. 6.
from his brethren, because of his zeal for the house of God, should comfort those who meet with the same usage on the same account.
“10. When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach. 11. I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them. 12. They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards."
To expiate the sins of his creatures, the king of glory became a man of sorrows; he put on mortal flesh, as a penitential garment; he fasted, and prayed, and mourned, and wept, and humbled himself to the dust, as if he had been the offender, and we the righteous persons, that needed no repentance; and what return was made him ? " It was to his reproach, and he became a proverb to them" for whom he suffered. “They sat in the gate," or on the judgment-seat," which used to be in the gates of cities, even the senators and judges of the land, the chief priests and elders, " spake against him," with cool and deliberate malice; while he was “ the song of the drunken” and profligate, who more grossly insulted and derided him. The true followers of the holy Jesus will often experience the like treatment from an evil and adulterous generation.
“13. But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: 0 God, in the multitude of thy mercies hear me, in the truth of thy salvation."
The Son of God himself, in the midst of sorrows and sufferings, has recourse to prayer, pleading for his church the “ mercies” of the Father, set forth in the promises, and his “truth," engaged to make those promises good, in the " salvation" of his chosen, through their head and representative. The " acceptable time,” in which Christ prayed, was the time when he offered the great propitiatory sacrifice. Through the merit of that sacrifice it is, that we have an " acceptable time, and a day of salvation" allowed us. Behold, now is that time, behold now is that day! Let us not delay one moment, to use and improve it aright.
66 14. Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink : let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters. 15. Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.”
Messiah petitions for deliverance from calamities, under the same images that were employed at the beginning of the Psalm, to describe those calamities. The purport of the petition is, that the sins of the world, and the sufferings due to them, may not finally overwhelm him, nor the grave "shut her mouth upon him" for ever; but that the morning of his resurrection may at length succeed the night of his passion. Such is also the hope and the prayer of the church, and of the Christian, here below.
“ 16. Hear me, O Lord; for thy loving-kindness is good : turn unto me, according to the multitude of thy tender mercies. 17. And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily. 18. Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me, because of mine enemies. 19. Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee."
As afflictions increase, the prayers are redoubled. Christ pleads with the Father for redemption from death, on account of his divine “ loving. kindness and mercy:" of his own great " trouble!” of his " enemies," that they might be converted or confounded : of the “ reproach, shame, and dishonour," undergone by him, that they might be wiped off, and done away: of the wrong he suffered from his adversaries, whose iniquitous proceedings were "all before God," and known to him. Deliverance from tribulation and persecution is prayed for by the church, and by her faithful children, upon the same grounds.
*** 20. Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness; and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but
I found none. 21. They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink."
The argument urged by Christ, in these most affecting words, is, that in the extremity of his passion, he was left alone, without a comforter, a friend, or an attendant; while all that were around about him studied to infuse every bitter and acrimonious ingredient into his cup of sorrows. This was lite rally as well as metaphorically true, when “they gave him to drink vinegar miogled with gall." See Matt. xxvii. 34. John xix. 28. Such are the comforts often administered by the world to an afflicted and deserted soul.
“ 22. Their table* shall become a snare before them; and that which should have been for their welfare, Heb. their peace-offerings, shall become a trap."
At this verse beginneth a prediction of those dreadful judgments, which Heaven has since inflicted upon the crucifiers of the Lord of glory, By their “ table becoming a snare, and their peace-offerings a trap," is pointed out the consequences of the Jews adhering to the legal services, in opposition to him who is “the end of the law for righteousness.” After his sufferings and exaltation, to continue under the law became not only unprofitable but destructive, inasmuch as it implied a denial of Messiah's advent, and a renunciation of every evangelical benefit and blessing. The religion of God's own appointment was an abomination to him, when reduced to the form of godliness, deserted by its power. Christians, who pride themselves in the one, while they deny and deride the other, would do well to consider this.
“ 23. Thou wilt darken their eyes that they shall not see; and make their loins continually to shake."
They who loved darkness rather than light, by the righteous judgment of God, were permitted to walk on in darkness, while the blind led the blind. And such still continues to be the state of the Jews, notwithstanding that intolerable weight of wo which made “ their loins to shake," and bowed down their backs to the earth. “The veil remaineth yet upon their hearts in the reading of the Old Testament," nor can they see therein “ the things which belong unto their peace.” These two last verses are cited as spoken by Israel, by St. Paul, Rom. xi. 9, 10. Afflict us, blessed Lord, if thou seest it good for us to be afflicted; only take not from us in our affliction the “light” of thy truth, and the “strength" of thy grace.
“ 24. Thou wilt pour out thine indignation upon them, and thy wrathful anger will take old of them."
Never was “indignation so poured out,” never did “wrath so take hold” on any nation, as on that which once was beyond every other, beloved and favoured. “The wrath,” says St. Paul, 1 Thess. ii. 16. “is come upon them to the uttermost, els Tsos to the end," to the very last dregs of the cup of fury. Let every church which boasteth of favours be stowed, and privileges conferred upon her, remember the consequences of their being abused by Jerusalem; and let every individual do the same.
“ 25. Their habitation shall be desolate, and none shall dwell in their tents."
Our Lord seems to have had this passage in his view, when he said to the Jews, “ Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." Matt. xxiii. 38. Jerusalem was by the Roman armies destroyed from the foundations. It hath been since indeed rebuilt, and inhabited by Gentiles, by Christians,
* I have taken the liberty to give a future rendering to the verbs in this and the following verses. That they are to be so understood, saith Dr. Hammond, i.e. in the future tense, by way of prediction, and not as an imprecation, see St. Aug. de Civ. I. 17. c. 19. Hæc non optando sunt dicta, sed optandi specie, prophetando--"These things are not said by the way of wishing, but under the show or scheme of wishing by prophecy." And indeed the Hebrew ' is in the future. and is most fitly rendered." shall be." And so doth the Jewish Arab interpreter observe, that such seeming imprecations, as here and elsewhere occur in this book of Psalms, are not so much by way of imprecation, as by way of prophecy, or prediction of what in God's best judgment would certainly befall man. Hammond in loc,