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knowing good and evil."—In short, what is hell, with all its horrors, but an unceasing opposition to the divine sovereignty? and what is heaven, with all its glories, but having our wills straight with the sovereign will of Jehovah! If a prelibation of the joys at God's right hand is known on earth, is it not at that happy moment when the soul can lie as clay in the hands of the Almighty potter?
Well then—good old Dr. Hawker has gone over Jordan to take possession of that goodly mountain and Lebanon, the land of peace and rest on high! Blessed be God for such a light in this our age. His works will be a valuable treasure to the church to the end of time. Truly such an apostolic character is deserving of our very high esteem; but for what is he deserving of our affectionate regard! Is it not for that drop which he received from the fountain of all loveliness, Jesus, who led the path for his suffering followers, and whose sweet attractive influence draws them to himself? O then, is he not deserving of the best room in our hearts—the highest place in our affections—the choicest, yea, the whole of our love?
Dr. Hawker's writings have been a blessing to me. Well do I remember (and ever shall) when he invited me to go down with him to the potter's house. I humbly hope that God the Spirit caused me there to hear his words. I was reading last evening his notes on the brazen serpent—I hope I was truly edified.
I have one request to make through you to the bible society. A pious female in this neighbourhood has commenced a sabbath school, and, from some hints in their last report, I think the committee will not refuse to send me a few testaments to encourage her laudable efforts.
May the good will of him who dwells in the midst of the burning bush, (the church) walk with you in the midst of the fiery furnace, and purify you and make you white, that you may be a vessel fitted and meet for the Master's use.
Your's in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ,
Cunning, June 20, 1827. DAVID PALMER
There is a strength some christians possess, which they should detest, and pray to be delivered from: it arises from pride, and is their weakness. There is a weakness which christians feel, that they should cherish arid bless God for; a weakness that leans upon Christ, and is their strength. ..There is a fulness which is cursed, and an emptiness that is blessed: men bless the full, God blesses the empty; he fills them with good things, but the rich or the full he -sendeth empty away.
An Exposition of the Book of Psalms. Part ike First. By the Rev. John Morison, Minister of Trevor Chapel, Brompton. Author of" Lectures on Reciprocal Obligations," Sfc. Palmer.
There is a class of dogmatists who pretend to despise every species of published note or comment on the holy scriptures, even though the theological opinions advanced may seem to quadrate with the peculiarities of their own [self-constructed creed. And it is worthy of remark that they—many of whom have adorned themselves with the sacerdotal vest—have often been detected in exhibiting the fruits of other men's learning and toil, notwithstanding their assumed independance of human aid. There are, also, intimately connected with this class of religionists, those whose conversation and pulpit addresses are so adroitly cast into the mould of their favourite authors, that it is with difficulty discovered whether they speak the sentiments of the heart, or are only amusing the hearer with the language of the idol of their adoration! By an unwarrantable use of the approved axiom, "Scripture is its own interpreter," they consider themselves justified in speaking contemptuously of the invaluable labours of the learned, the wise, and the spiritual.
But of all objections brought against so important a mean of scriptural knowledge,—this is among the most absurd. For, on the principle of the maxim referred to, whatever dogma or interpretation may be offered to our attention, we have access still and at all times to the lively oracles. "If any man speak as the oracles of God: if any man minister as of the ability which God giveth:" let us see to it "that God is glorified through Christ Jesus." Moreover, there is not a writer on the sacred volume,—having the fear of God in his heart and in exercise,—but who is taught to teach and to exhort others to receive his testimony, only so far as it is in correspondence with the perfect will of the Spirit of truth.. Multitudes of the people of God have been profited, and built up on our most holy faith, by those means in the hand of the Lord the Spirit: and we believe that many will receive a blessing from that Almighty Agent, through the instrumentality of "An Exposition of the Book of Psalms," the first part of which lies before us.
Mr. Morison informs the reader, that while he intends to overlook nothing essential to a full and critical Exposition, he is free to confess that his main object is the promotion of experimental and practical religion. Having found his own spirit refreshed, and strengthened, especially in seasons of affliction, by the study of the Psalter, he states, he has been induced to believe that others also, through his humble instrumentality, might be led to share the same benefits. We have given utterance to an anticipation that such effects will be realized;
Vol. IV.—No. 45. 2 K
and we congratulate the writer on the amiable spirit which dictated the hope he has expressed. After giving an outline of the Book of Psalms, he concludes his " general observations"—
"While it will be the author's aim to trace the conflicts of temptation, the depths of sorrow, the agonies of penitence, and the raptures of spiritual joj, which are here so strikingly depicted, by "the Son of Jesse," as "the sweet singer of Israel;" it will also be his unceasing, his ever-present desire, he trusts, to lead the attention of his readers to Him who is "fairer than the children of men," who so often, during his abode on earth, referred to this inspired book, who uttered its language on the cross, and who died with one of its most touching expressions on his lips. "To Him gave all the prophets witness;" and he who has read "the Book of Psalms" without being conducted to Bethlehem, to the judgment hall of Pilate-, to the garden of Geth. semane, to the scene of the crucifixion, to the Mount of Olives, and to the throne of heaven, has had his spiritual vision obscured by ignorance or blinded by prejudice.
"May " the Holy Spirit of promise,"—" the Spirit of wisdom and revelation," condescend to impart a measure of his own mind in the study of this most invaluable portion of Sacred Scripture."
We now present a sketch, and it can be but a slight one, of the general principles maintained in the notice of the several Psalms composing the first part of this commentary. The first Psalm, the greater part of which some have boldly affirmed relates exclusively to Christ, is contemplated principally in reference to the distinctions between the righteous and the wicked. But while we are presented with a true and forcible illustration of the two characters, with a description of their distinguishing marks, we read with feelings of delight the candid acknowledgment:—" Though I dare not avow it "as my opinion, that this Psalm is prophetic in its character, yet I "cannot pass from this striking and beautiful verse, (ver. 1) without "reminding you of One, who 'was holy, harmless, undented, and "separate from sinners.' Of him only could it be said, that' be did "no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.'"
The second Psalm is given, says Mr. M. by the mouth of David to the church.—" Nor is it less obvious that it partakes distinctly "of a prophetic character. In some limited sense, indeed, it may "refer to the settlement of David in the throne of Judah and Israel; "but its principal design is to celebrate the glories of Messiah,—to "predict the triumphs of his reign,—and to fortel the impending "doom of his enemies. That such is its character, is proved by an "induction of facts, the evidence of which it would be difficult either "to resist or pervert." On verses 1, 2, 3, the following observations occur.
"While it is clear that the whole of this address belongs to Messiah, it is equally clear that the prophecy is uttered by David in Ms kingly character, and that it embodies the sentiments, feelings, and expressions adapted to his circumstances, in ascending the throne of Israel, amidst scenes of opposition and conflict, and about to extend his conquests to the surrounding nations of the gentiles. It pleased the divine Spirit, by means of the kingly elevation, and the kingly feelings of David, to enable him thereby to personate Messiah, and to speak forth the language suited to his mediatorial character and regal dominion.
"Why do the heathen rage?" The word rendered heathen, literally signifies nations, and seems here, as in two or three other portions of scripture, to denote the Jews, who, contemplated in their tribes, were divided into twelve distinct though dependant nations. That by the heathen, or nations, are meant the Jews, seems probable from the act which Messiah here attributes to them; viz. that of "rage." How aifectingly true the charge that is here preferred! Did they not gnash upon Christ with their teeth? Did they not endeavour to do violence to his sacred person, by casting him over a steep place? Did they not, often and again, take up stones to stone the holy Son of God? Did they not with a loud yell of infernal malice vociferate under the sanction of the high priest—" Away with him, away with him ; crucify him 1" "Why do the heathen rage ? that is, tunraltuously assemble themselves together, as if for purposes of outrage and revenge." "Why }" Is there any ju3t cause to be assigned? any wise purpose to be accomplished ?" Why, Judas, dost thou betray me? Why, ye priests and rulers of the nation, do ye condemn me? Why, ye infatuated multitude, do ye come forth, with swords and staves, as against a thief or a robber? Why are your hearts so full of malice against him and his cause who is your only Messiah and King?
_ "And the people imagine a vain thing." That is, the people of the gentiles—the people of the nations. Why did they think to crush the religion of the despised Nazarene? How vain thus to unite with the unbelieving Jews! thus to vent their puny spite against Him whom all worlds obey! It was in vain that Herod and Pontius Pilate, and the Roman soldiers, performed their several parts in the sufferings and crucifixion of Christ. It was in vain that heathen tribunals oppressed the disciples of the cros3, and blasphemed that sacred name by which they were called. It was in vain that philosophy, and "science, falsely so called," and worldly policy, united their malignant efforts to blot out the religion of Jesus from the records of time: —all was in vain."
"The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers took counsel together against the Lord, and against his Anointed." Thisis literally true, both in relation to our Lord's sufferings and death, and to the facts which have almost uniformly attended the spread of Christianity throughout the world. The powers and potentates of the earth have, with few exceptions indeed, entered into an unrighteous league against the kingdom of Messiah, and the saints of the Most High. • You may trace the Church's history in the blood of her martyrs, and that blood cries for vengeance to fall on the long departed heads of the Jewish nation, and on the princes of the Gentiles. Both Pagan and nominally Christian powers have, in their turn, lifted up the rod of oppression, and their-mutual language has been, " Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us."
"This is the language of determined but impotent defiance ; it is the native unrestrained utterance of the depraved heart of man; it is the embodying, in one significant sentence, the great and standing objection of the carnal mind against the religion of the Lord Jesus. It is a religion of authority, as well as of love; its great object, indeed, is to set up the authority of Christ in the human heart; to discountenance sin, in all its forms; to purify the spirit in which it reigns; and to make men holy by those very exhibitions which most emphatically teach them their sinfulness.
"Against this peculiar and essential feature of the religion of Jesus, the corrupt nature of man has ever been disposed to rebel. The wholesome restraints of a system which demands purity of heart, and undeviating integrity of character, are pronounced to be unnecessary impositions upon human liberty, and the language of the unregenerate heart is, "Let us 'break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us." The words of Bishop Home on this text are striking, and worthy of being emblazoned in letters of gold. "Doctrines," says the eloquent Prelate, " will be readily believed, if they involve in them no precepts; and the church may be toleated by the world, if she will only give up her discipline."
We express our approval of this comment by quoting it in full,— having particular reference to 'the native, unrestrained utterance of the depraved heart of man,'—' the great and standing objection of the carnal mind,'—and 'the language of the unregenerate heart,' &c. But we think it needful to remind Mr. M. that in reply to the momentous interrogation, " Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?" had one more clause in the prayer of the disciples (Acts iv. 26—28.) been noticed in the introduction to the Psalm, he would have found the grand leading argument for the confirmation of all he subsequently wrote. "The kings of the earth stood up,—the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ,—both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done." The words of the apostle Peter, in his pentecostal sermon,—as they immediately precede a passage from the 16th Psalm/and are to the same purpose, —may also be stated—" Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain." Thus, on surveying the welladjusted series of truths in the author's notes, we admire their symmetry and order,—but the beauty and stability of the arch are spoiled—the keystone being wanting.
We do not lose sight of the repeated acknowledgment of the covenant-relationship subsisting between Christ and his church. Neither are we so foolish as to intimate, or even suspect, that our commentator disregards what a great divine has termed, the eternal and ' unfrustrable purpose' of Jehovah in the exhibition of his sovereignty. Our regret is, that what we have found occasion sincerely to admire, is not a declaration of "all the counsel of God" on the subject. And our objections stand on a similar footing with respect to the anointing of Christ, as alluded to in the notes farther on in this Psalm, which the want of space compels us to leave unnoticed.
The following, on verse 2. Psalm v. demands our high commendation.
"We have here the spirit of prayer rising to an intensity of excitement, and refusing any longer to be confined within the secret chambers of the heart. As there are moments in which the soul of a child of God has no other language in which to express itself, save the deep mournings of an unutterable contrition; so there are periods when the mind is roused from its pensive musings, and when it throws itself forth in all the energy of a di«tinctly and emphatically-expressed devotion; when the emancipated spirit, as it were, shakes off every restraint which either felt unworthiness or a sense of the divine Majesty might inspire, and when it gives full vent to its most secret sorrows in word3 of impassioned prayer.
"Such appears to have been the character of David's supplications, at the time when this Psalm was composed. From a state of unuttered and almost consuming devotion, he proceeds to the act of vocal and imploring prayer; making his appeal to Jehovah as his King and his G<Sd, and beautifully recognizing him as the exclusive object of his worship.
"Though raised to a throne, yet did hft not forget his subjection to " the King of kings, and Lord of lords;" nor did be cease to remembor, that