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"ings to have been continually before me. I will •* take no bullock out of thy house, nor he-goats out "of thy folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, "and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all "the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of "the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not "tell thee; for the world is mine, and the fulness "thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the "blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving, and "pay thy vows unto the Most High, and call upon "me in the day of trouble, and 1 will deliver thee, "and thou shaft glorify me." The qualifications here required are those of the heart and the life, "Clean hands and a pure heart." It is not enough that we wash our hands in innocence before men; we must be pure in heart before the eyes of infinite perfection. True religion is the religion of the heart; it is a principle dwelling in the mind, that extends its influence through the whole man, and regulates the life. Unless our religion enter into the heart, we have no religion at all. The form of godliness is insufficient and unavailing without the power thereof. We can never attain to the true beauties of holiness, unless, like the king's daughter, we be all glorious within. On the other hand, when clean hands and a pure heart are united in the same person; when a conversation without blame, and a conscience void of offence coincide, they are in the sight of God of great price. A life sacred to devotion and virtue, sacred to the practice of truth and undefiled religion, joined to a heart, pure, pious, and benevolent, constitute an offering more acceptable at the altars of the Most Hii;h God, than whole hecatombs of burnt-offerings, and a thousand hills of frankincense in a flame.
By lifting up the soul unto vanity, the Psalmist means, making riches and honour, those vanities of the world the object of our affection and pursuit ; saying to the gold, thou art our trust ; or to the most fine gold, thou art our confidence. Or it may mean the worshipping of idols, which, in Scripture, go under the denofnirtation of vanity, as in Jeremiah, "Are there Any "among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause "rain?" Swearing deceitfully, includes all manner of perjury. This vice is always represented in Scripture in the most dreadful colours. He that sweareth falsely, and he that feareth an oath, is an equivalent term for the wicked and the righteous. As an oath is the greatest pledge of veracity, and the end of all strife, general and customary violations of it must have the most pernicious effect upon society. Such a practice would entirely banish religious principles from the world; it would dissolve the bands of society, it would shake the fundamental pillars of mutual trust and confidence among men, and destroy the security arising from the laws themselves. For human laws and human sanctions cannot extend to numberless cases in which the safety of mankind is essentially concerned. They would prove but feeble and ineffectual means of preserving the order and peace of society, if there were no checks upon men, from the sense of divine legislation; if no belief of divine rewards and punishments came in aid of what human rewards and punishments so imperfectly provide for. We have, in the next verse, the rewards promised to the persons possessed of these qualifications.
Verse 5. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, even righteousness from the God of his salvation. This alludes to the appointed custom of the Jewish priests, who, on solemn and stated occasions, were wont to bless the people. Their form of blessing we have prescribed in Numbers vi. 22. "And the Lord "spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and "unto his sons, saying, On this wise shall ye bless the "people of Israel, The Lord bless thee, and keep thee; "the Lord make his face to shine upon thee,and be gra"cious unto thee; the Lord lift up his countenance up"on thee, and give thee peace." Hut as the priest was a fallible creature, his blessing might be indiscriminately bestowed, and fail of its effect. Hut the person who hath cleanjiands and a pure heart, who hath not lift up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully, shall receive the blessing from God himself, whose favour is better than life, and whose blessing inaketh rich, and addeth no sorrow. These blessings are summed up in the eighty-fourth Psalm ; " The Lord God is a "sun and shield ; the Lord will give grace and glory; "no good thing will he withhold from them that '« walk uprightly." Righteousness from the God of our. salvation, may either mean the reward of righteousness, as the work in Scripture is frequently put for the reward; or it may mean kindness, mercy, and the benefits from righteousness, as in 1 Sam. xii. 7. "Now "therefore, stand still, that 1 may reason with you "before the Lord, of all the righteousnesses of the, "Lord, which he did to you and your fathers." Where it is evident from what follows, that by righ-. teousnesses of the Lord, he means the deliverances that God had wrought for them.
Verse 6. This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek tht/ face, O Jacob, or O Godof Jacob, asit might better be rendered. This is the generation, who, in obedience to the commandments of God, and in the methods of his appointment, seek his iace, that is, his favour and friendship, and to whom he never said, "Seek ye my face in vain."
Animated by his subject, the Psalmest proceeds to higher strains, and, in the sublime spirit of eastern poetry, calls upon the gates of the temple to open and admit the triumphal procession.
Vekse 7. Lift up your heads, O i/e gates,'and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in. To illustrate this part of the Psalm, we must take a short view of the Hebrew psalmody. The Psalms of David are of various kinds. Some of them are dramatic, having speakers introduced, making a kind of musical dialogue. Of this the ninety* first Psalm is a remarkable instance. In the first verse, the high-priest, rising up, declares the happiness of him who putteth his trust in the Almighty. In the second verse, David himself, or one of the singers, representing the faithful among the Jews, devoid Ii. II h
clares his faith and confidence in God. From the third to the fourteenth, the ode was performed by the sacred singers, both with the voice and instruments of music, The three last verses were spoken by the high-priest alone in the character of God Almighty.
Many of the Psalms are intended to be sung by two divisions of the sacred singers, the chorus and the semichorus. Such is the Psalm before us. Every v§rse is divided into two members, exactly of the same length, and generally representing the same thought, expressed in a different manner. "The earth ** is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof ;-r-the world, "and they that dwell therein.'' When we come to the seventh, the verse is evidently altered. The verses are not divided into two members as before, and for a very good reason. The semichorus asked the question and the chorus made the reply. Apostrophes, or addresses to inanimate nature, are among the boldest figures in poetry, and when properly introduced, las in this place, are in the highest manner productive of beauty. The simple thought, when stripped of its poetical ornaments, is no more than this: When the priests had carried the ark to the temple, Solomon ordered the gates to be thrown open to admit the ark. How much this thought is improved, when embellish«d by the fine imagination of the sweet singer of Israel, and clothed in all the graces of poetry, let per7 sons of the smallest critical discernment judge. In short, the passage is too well known, and too beautiful, to need or admit of any illustration. Like the meridian sun, it shines in its own light, and to endeavour'to adorn it, were wasteful and ridiculous excess.
As we are assured, by an authority that cannot err, that the ceremonies of the Jewish law were a figure' of good things to come, and as the ark has been conT sidered as a type of our Saviour, it is highly probable, that its introduction into the temple prefigured to the faithful among the Jews, that solemn and triumphant period when our Saviour ascended into the heaven of |ieavens, to take possession of the glory which he had, 'with the Father before the world was. "
Luke xvi. 19—31,
19- There was a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously even/ day.
20. And there iaas a certain beggar named Lazarus, who iias laid at his gate, full oj soresi
21. And desiring to be Jed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover, the dogs came and
ticked his sores.
22. And it came to pass that the b&ggar died, and was tarried by the angels into Abraham's bosom : the rich man also died, and was buried.
23. And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments*, and seeth Abraham ajar off, and Lazarus in his bosom,
24. And he cried, and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue jjor I am tormented in this flame.
2d. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receiiledst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and thou art torment* ed.
26. And besides all this, between us and i/ou there is a great gulf fixed: so that they who would pass from hence to you, cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
27. Then he said, 1 pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldst send him to my father's house:
28. For I have five Brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
29. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
30. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.