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he was far superior to Abraham; for “it is evident that the lesser is blessed of the greater, and that the greater r3ceiveth tythes from the lesser.” Besides, Melchizedek was both king in Salem and a priest to the most high God, and consequently far superior to our father Abraham.
That king David was the author is evident, first, from the title, “Mizmor Ledavid," "a Psalm of David." I am aware that R. D. Kimchi hath found out that the prefix le to the word David signifies to, and not of, David, and that therefore the Psalm could not be composed by him: but this cannot be admitted, because it may not only very well signify a Psalm made by David; but if it do not, then there is no title which shows any Psalm to be his; and some of them we are sure are his. Besides, this very author makes David the author of Psalm 18th, where the title is, “ Leeved Jehovah Ledavid," i. e. a Psalm of David, the servant of Jehovah, where the prefix le is used twice, and should therefore be rendered by this author, a Psalm to David, to the servant of Jehovah. Again, in the Targum also, it is ascribed to David in these words: “a Psalm by the hand of David."
In the next place, it is evident that David was considered the author of this Psalm in the days of our blessed Savior and his apostles ; for when Christ asserted that David in spirit called the Messiah Lord, they did not attempt to contradict that David was the author of the Psalm. The apostle Paul, who was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, and must have known to whom they applied this Psalm, de clares David to have been the author.
$ 7. I will now show that the prediction of this Psalm respects the Messiah. We have already proved that it could not belong to Abraham; no more is it applicable to David. He being the author of the Psalm, could not be the subject of it; for he speaks of another, whom he calls his Lord. Nor hath he ascended into heaven, or sat down at the right hand of God. Nor was he a priest, being of the tribe of Judah. I well remember that a late author, one of our brethren, calls this Psalm a mere parody on David, composed by one of the Levitic poets; and to get over the difficulty that David was no priest, he translates the word Cohen a priest, verse 4th, a “chief ruler.” Mr. Bennet however produces no proof that this Psalm was written by a Levitic poet, though the title ascribes it to David. Nor can Mr. B. be ignorant that though the word is used in a civil sense to express some dignity, yet it nowhere signifies a ruler, much less a king; and that its radical and real signification is “a sacrifice,” or as the Targums well translate it, by “Meshammesh,” i. e. one that ministers before the Lord. And the first time the word is used in the Bible, it is used in this sense. Gen. 14:18, And Melchizedek, the priest of the most high God. Mr. Bennet, however, should have given the credit of this new translation to the Targum, who substitutes the word “ Rabba, a prince," for the word Cohen, a priest. But it was very evident that this Targum was composed more than 300 years after the death of Christ, when our Rabbins had begun to use every method in their power to give to every passage of Scripture, favorable to Christianity, a turn different from what it had before the coming of Christ.
That our ancient Rabbins applied this Psalm to the Messiah, will be evident to any one who will examine the following references : Raya Mehimna, Zohar. Gen. 18: 1. Num. 99: 2. Med. Tehillim in loco, and in Ps. 18: 35. R. Obadiah and Kimchi in loco. R. Saadiah Gaon, Dan. 7:13. Nachmonides, disp. cum. frat. Paulo, page 36: 55. R. Yodem, Ps. 18:36. R. Moshe haddarshan, in Ber. Rab. Gen. 18:1. The author of Arkoth Rochel saith, “Armillus shall stir up all the world to war against the Messiah, whom the holy God shall not compel to war, but shall only say unto him, sit thou at my right hand."
It is equally evident that the Pharisees and Scribes, in our Lord's time, considered the Messiah the subject of this Psalm. For when he asked them, “what think ye of Christ? whose son is he?" they readily replied, “the son of David,'
but when Jesus objected, “how then does David in spirit call him Lord ?" saying, “the Lord said unto my Lord." “ If then David call him Lord, how is he his son ?'* They were non-plussed, and thrown into the utmost confusion; for, no man was able to answer him a word.” Matt. 22 : 42, 46. Now, had it been the generally received opinion of the syna. gogue, at that time, that this Psalm was to be understood of some other person, and not of the Messiah, they could very easily have objected it to him; but Jesus seems to argue with them from what was agreed on, on all hands, and of which there could be no dispute among them, viz. that this Psalm was written by David, that it was written by him under the inspiration of the Spirit ; and that the Messiah was the subject thereof.
§ 8. Before I leave this subject, I cannot but notice the opinion advanced by one of our people, a correspondent in the Jewish Repository, vol. 2, under the signature of S. M. In page 150 he saith, “this Psalm was wrote by Abner, Saul's general, when he united Israel under king David's dominion." Being called upon for a proof of his assertion, he saith in his next letter, page 252, "I do not bring ancient Rabbinical proof," (the reason is, it is impossible to do so,) “but one of a later date, say in the year 1720, from a work printed in London, entitled 'Espego Fiel de Vidas ; its author is named Daniel Israel Lopes Laguna." With respect to the 110th Psalm, he saith, “this Psalm was addressed by Abner to king David, &c." The following observation, made by the editors in page 253, is an unanswerable refutation of this novel opinion of Mr. Lopes Laguna : “Does S. M. really think that the mere assertion of a writer in the year 1720 is entitled to be received as proof in such a case ? If this writer has given any ancient authority for the assertion, why has S. M. been wholly silent respecting it? If S. M. be not acquainted with any ancient authority in support of it, how does he venture to say that such `authority' has been obtained ?' Is Don Lopes Laguna's having been 'acknowledged to be a man of profound learning,' sufficient to `authenticate' every thing he may have affirmed? Do not the just rules of argument require the affirmative to be proved ? Is not the necessity of proof so much the greater in proportion as the affirmation is at variance with the tes · timony of antiquity on the point in question ? Is it any better than trifling to advance an assertion, and then say, 'it remains now for' an opponent'to disprove it. Has S. M. disproved the ancient authorities which declare this Psalm to have been written by David ? Suppose any writer of the present day, 'acknowledged to be a man of profound learning,' should assert this Psalm to have been written by Daniel, and to have related to Cyrus, would S. M. admit such. an assertion to be worthy of credit ? If not, on what grounds would he reject it, that would not equally invalidate the assertion of Don Lopes? Would it be argued that this Psalm is not all applicable to Cyrus? But is it all applicable to David ? Was David a priest a priest for ever? Is the interpretation given by S. M. (that this language only indicates that the dominion of Israel shall for ever be in the house of David,') so self-evident as to require nothing to be said in support of it? And if such be the meaning of this language, how does S. M. suppose the prediction to have been fulfilled ?
* Note. It is worthy of observation that our Lord did not ask this question to prove his simple divinity, but rather the union of the divine and human natures in the person of the Messiah. As God, he could not be David's son, and, as man, he could not be his lord; but in the union of their natures, he is both his son and his lord.
§ 9. Pardon this digression, dear Benjamin. To return to our subject. The priestly office may be divided into three prominent parts—to offer sacrifices, to make intercession, and to bless the people. As the soul and essence of the priesthood consisted in offering up sacrifices, this may be the proper place to show their origin and design.
Sacrificing is a religious act, in which a creature devoted
to God was in a solemn manner destroyed in his presence, for sacred ends. “A sacrifice," saith the great and learned Dr. Owen, “is a religious oblation of something consecrated and dedicated to God by the ministry of a priest, according to God's institution, to be destroyed for a testimony of the worship of God, and an external symbol.” This mode of worship is of great antiquity. It was in use in the first ages of the world. We are sure that Job offered sacrifices, both for his children and for his friends. Our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob built altars and offered their sacrifices unto the God most high. Noah offered up sacrifices immediately on his coming out of the ark. Cain and Abel brought their respective offerings unto the Lord; and from the manner in which the transaction is introduced, it seems pretty clear that there was a regular fixed time for this religious exercise. The expression alluded to is in Gen. 4 : 3, "and in the process of time it came to pass." The original is, “and it came to pass at the end of days.” This intimates (as has been observed) a stated time for the performance of this duty; and the whole turn of the phrase marking a previous and familiar observance. Nor can it reasonably be doubted that Adam himself offered up sacrifices. For whence came the skins with which our first parents were clothed ? Gen. 3:21. The beasts to whom they belonged cannot, so soon after their creation, be supposed to have died of age; they must have been slain; and as animal food was not in use until after the flood, it is most natural to suppose that they were slain in sacrifice, as a constant memorial of their transgression, of the death which it merited, and of the divine mercy by which that death was withheld.
§ 10. It is a remark of the pious and learned Dr. Witsius, “that God's clothing our first parents was a symbolical act, as seems evident from our Lord's own words, 'I counsel thee to buy of me white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear," Rev. 3: 18. The mystical is first, As that clothing which