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SO, "peace being within her walls,” her citizens may give themselves to every profitable employment, and "plenteousness” of grace, wisdom, and truth, as well as of earthly blessings, may be in all her "palaces.” Thus will she become a lively portrait of that place which is prepared for them that love one another, where, with one heart and one voice, they shall ascribe "salvation and glory to God and to the Lamb.”
8. For my brethren and companion's sake I will now say, Peace be within thec. 9. Because of the house of the Lord our God I seek thy good.
In these concluding verses, the Psalmist declareth the two motives, which induced him to utter his best wishes, and to use his best endeavours, for the prosperity of Jerusalem; namely, love of his brethren, whose happiness was involved in that of their city; and love of God, who had there fixed the residence of his glory. These motives are ever in force, and ought, surely, to operate with marvellous energy upon our hearts, to stir us up to imitate the pattern now before us, in fervent zeal and unwearied labour, for the salvation of men, and the glory of their great Redemer; both which will then be complete, when the church militant shall become triumphant, and the heavenly paradise shall be filled with plants taken from its terrestrial nursery.
Theodore Zuinger, of whom some account may be found in Thuanus, when he lay on his death-bed, took his leave of the world in a paraphrase on the foregoing Psalm; giving it the same turn with that given to it above. I have never been able to get a sight of the original;* but one may venture, I believe, to say, that it has
* Since the publication of the first edition, a learned friend has obliged me with a copy of these Latin verses of Zuinger, transcribed from the 303d page of Vitæ Ger. manorum Medicorum, by Melchior Adamus. They are as follow:
O lux candida, lux mihi
Vitæ porta beatæ.
Lætus limiua templi.
Augustam populo urbem :
Laudent voce perenni :
Cuncta in sæcla beati.
Cedunt omia recte.
lost nothing in a translation of it by the learned and pious Mr. Merrick; which is so excellent, that I must beg leave to present it to the reader. Some of the lines are retained in his more literal poetical version, published in 1765. It may serve as a finished specimen of the noble and exalted use which a Christian may and ought to niake of the Psalıns of David.
What transports fill my breast !
And leads me to his rest.
Thy presence to adore ;
And tread th' ethereal floor
E'en now, with glad survey,
Their tribute hither bring :
And hail th' immortal King:
Great Salem's King; who bids each state
In her, ere time begun,
For Jesse's favour'd son.
Semper pax tua menia
Larga munera fundit.
Spesque Fidesque valete.
Delighted fix her stay.
Nor war's wild wastes deplore:
In thee for ever dwell,
And faith and hope farewell !
ARGUMENT.—This Psalm containeth, 1, 2. an act of confidence in God, with,
3, 4. a prayer for deliverance from that reproach and contempt which infidelity and sensuality are wont to pour upon the afflicted people of God.
1. Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens. The church, when distressed and persecuted upon earth, “lifteth up her eyes” to him that dwelleth in the heavens, from thence beholding and ordering all things here below. It is by his permission that she is depressed and insulted ; and he only can deliver her out of the hands of her enemies.
2. Behold, as the cyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress ; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy upon us.
The servants of God, like other servants, if they are injured and suffer violence, expect redress and protection from the Master whose they are, and whom they serve. Under the law of Moses, a master was to demand satisfaction, and to have it made him, for any hurt done to his servant. And shall not the best of masters avenge the wrongs done to those who serve him; and done, perhaps, because they serve him? Without doubt, he will avenge them speedily and reward the sufferers gloriously.
3. Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us; for we are erceedingly filled with contempt. 4. Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that are al ease, and with the contempt of the proud.
Unbelieving, ungodly, and worldly men, who are " at ease," and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches, will always be ready to cast upon the afflicted servants of Christ some portion of that reproach and contempt, which were so plentifully poured upon their blessed Master, in the day of his passion, and indeed through his whole life. With these they may justly complain that "their souls are exceedingly filled," insomuch that they are compelled to exclaim with redoubled earnestness, “ Have merey upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us.” And let them know, for their comfort, that the Lord will have mercy upon them," in that day when sensuality shall be succeeded by torment, and pride shall end in shame and confusion; when patient poverty shall inherit everlasting riches, and oppressed humility shall be exalted to a throne above the stars.
ARGUMENT.-In this Psalm, which, as we are informed by the title, hath David
for its author, the church describeth the danger in which she hath been, and giveth to God alone the glory of her deliverance out of it.
1. If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, now may Israel say: 2. If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us: 3. Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us.
The people of Israel, rescued from impending ruin, break forth into a joyful acknowledgment of that almighty aid, to which they were indebted for their deliverance. “Men” rose up against them, but“ Jehovah” was on their side; men intended to devour, but God interposed to save. May not " the Israel of God” say, in like manner, " If the Lord had nor been on our side," when our spiritual enemies, sin, death, and hell, were in arms against us, surely now "they had swallowed us up quick," and we had perished everlastingly? It is thou, O Lord Jesu, who hast wrought for us this great salvation; it is thou who from the beginning hast preserved thy church in the world, amidst the persecutions which must otherwise have put an end to its very existence.
4. Then the waters had overwhelmed us; the stream, or, torrent, had gone over our soul : 5. Then the proud, or, swelling, waters had gone over our soul.
The redeemed are astonished, upon looking back, at the greatness of the danger to which they had been exposed. They can compare the fury and insolence of their adversaries to nothing but overwhelming floods and desolating torrents; and they consider themselves as snatched by a miracle from instant destruction. Happy they, who are taken from the evil to come, and have passed from the miseries of earth to the felicities of heaven, where they are neither tempted nor molested more. The devout Christian, whom in perilous times, and towards the close of life, a gracious Providence has thrown ashore in some sequestered corner, from whence he views those secular tumults with which he hath no further concern, is perhaps arrived at the next degree of happiness to that of just spirits made perfect.
6. Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. 7. Our soul is escaped a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the sna broken, and we are escaped.
The marvellous deliverance of Israel is illustrated by two other images. It is compared to the escape of a lamb from the jaws of a wolf, or a lion ; and to that of a bird, by the breaking of the snare in which it had been entangled, before the fowler came to seize and to kill it. Save us, O God, from the rage and the subtilty of our spiritual adversary; save us from his teeth, when he would devour; from his snares, when he would deceive : suffer us not, either by persecution or temptation, to fall from thee; let the lion gnash his teeth, and the fowler look for his captive in vain; that so we too may sing the song of Zion in thy heavenly kingdom, and say, "Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us over for a prey unto their teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped."
8. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
The great lesson which this Psalm, from the beginning to the end, inculcates, is, that for every deliverance, whether of a temporal or spiritual nature, we should, in imitation of the saints above, ascribe " Salvation to God and the Lamb.”
ARGUMENT.-In this Psalm the church is comforted with the promises, 1, 2. of
God's protection, and 3. of his removing, in due time, from his inheritance the rod of the oppressor ; when, 4. the faithful will be rewarded, and, 5. apostates punished with other workers of iniquity. Aben Ezra, as cited by Dr. Hammond, applieth the Psalm to the days of Messiah.
1. They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever. 2. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.
The stability of the church, and the protection afforded her by Jehovah, were of old represented by the mountain on which the divine presence resided, and by the hills which encompassed Jerusalem, so as to render that city in a manner impregnable. While her inhabitants continued to “trust in the Lord,” this was the case. But when they became faithless and disobedient, she became weak, and like another city. Let not our “trust in God” be a presumptuous, ungrounded assurance; but let it be a confidence springing from faith unfeigned, out of a pure heart, a good conscience, and fervent charity. Then shall our situation, whether as a church or as individuals, resemble that of the holy mount in the beloved city, and our God will be unto us a fortress, and a wall round about. But let us never forget, that the promises to us, like those to Israel, are