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And this has by so much the more wonderful effect in Christian matters; because, the ungodly are not only tormented, and not only cannot hurt any one, but, by the all-wise management of God, are compelled by this their torture and their vain contrivances, to promote, more than any thing else does, that which they attempt to hinder: so that his friends cannot so much profit a Christian, as his enemies do.
Verse 3.—Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their yoke from us.
These words ought to be connected with the preceding, they “raged,' 'meditated,' stood up, &c. :' but the sense may be, They raged and roared out this, they meditated this, they decreed this, they concluded this,—to take their necks from under the yoke of God and of Christ, to break their bands asunder, and to say, “we will not have this man to reign over us," Luke xix. 14: or that of Job xxi. 14, Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.
Who is the Almighty that we should serve him ? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?" For the prophet represents the wicked as thus speaking.–Some are of one opinion and some of another: but I follow this sense of the passage. And therefore, as to the scruple that stands in the way of many, that he here uses the plural number " their;" that is all to be referred to the Lord and to his Anointed, who are without doubt two Persons, the sender and the sent. As if he had said, they rejected both the messenger and the king, and would not receive their counsels.
And that by “ bands,” and “yoke,” are metaphorically or allegorically signified the divine commandments, Jeremiah proves in this passage, “ Therefore I said, Surely these are poor: they are foolish : for they know not the way of the Lord, nor the judgment of their God. I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them ; for they have known the way of the Lord, and the judgment of their God: but these have altogether broken the yoke and burst the bands.” Jeremiah
V. 4, 5. And again, “ For of old time thou hast broken my yoke and burst my bands,” Jer. ii. 20. Though this passage is corrupted : for in the Hebrew it is God that speaks in the first person, “ For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands : ” that the one bands may be represented as being contrary to the other, the one yoke to the other, the way of God to the way of man, and the judgment of God to the judgment
These “bands” are the commandments of Christ, by which we are taught how to walk in his way. And this "yoke," or these 'cords,’are his judgments, by which we are prohibited from doing evil. The former is the justification of the spirit, the latter the mortification of the flesh. For there are two things commanded: to depart from evil, and to
do good. The former of which pertains unto the mortifying the desires of the flesh, the latter unto the doing of good works. Nor does it make any difference if these be transposed, and · bands” be received as signifying the judgments, and “yoke” as signifying righteousness; for the sense remains the same; and when that is held fast, all contention about words is to be despised.
The whole verse then is allegorical. For by breaking is signified despising, and making of none effect; by bands is signified commandments; by casting away, not obeying; by disregarding, not receiving; and by yoke -is signified instruction and the discipline of mortifying the flesh. But when I say allegorical, I do not mean, as our moderns use that term, that another and an historical sense is so sought in the passage, contrary to what its really means ; but, that its true and proper signification is expressed in a figurative way.--For always mark this, that to the perverse all things are perverse : as it is writ- ' ten, “with the froward thou wilt show thyself froward,” Psalm xviii. 26. Thus they call the law of Christ," which is the law of liberty and sweetness, “bands” and a “yoke;" signifying thereby that it is a bondage and i state of labour and difficulty; but, on the other hand ! they believe their law, which is in truth a bondage and ?
state of labour, to be liberty and sweetness. Hence, to the ungodly all things work together for evil: and therefore it is said, Jeremiah xxiii. 38.
“ But since
the durden of the Lord: therefore thus saith the Lord : Because ye say this word, the burden of the Lord, and I here sent unto you, saying, Ye shall not say the burden of the Lord. Therefore behold, I, ever I, will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you: and I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you and a perpetual shame which shall not be forgotten !" &c. For it must of necessity be that he who is pleased with the things of himself, is not pleased with the things of God.
And there is need of the eyes of faith liere again : for when David says these things, he does not intend to say, bat these ungodly men really meant the Lord and his Anvinted when they said, “Let us break their bands kunder, and cast away their cords from us :" because they believed that they were acting for the glory of God ad of his law, in rejecting Christ. But the prophet who here says, “the Lord and his Anointed” is describing that Lord and his Anointed as rejected by them while they were ignorant of what they were doing. Take potice, therefore, whether he does not use an allegory throughout the whole verse, in order to show, that they pretended one thing and did another, and, under their blindness, exhibited a certain allegory in their conduct, a rejecting the Lord and his Anointed at the very time ther they pretended the most to act for their glory.And what if we conclude, that David made use of te pronoun “their,” in this passage that he
both Deditate on, and understand, the Lord and his Anointed ribin himself, and also at the same time set forth their open contempt of the Anointed, in not considering tam worthy of that name, much less acknowledging him to be both Lord and Christ.
Thus far, therefore, has the prophet been describing the attempts of the ungodly in refusing to have him apointed king whom God had already set up: wherein des plotted not only against Christ, but much more so against the appointment of God. Which same thing was
exemplified in the case of David and Saul: for David was anointed king by the divine command, but Saul resisted both God and David in this appointment with the most determined obstinacy. And indeed he raged, meditated many things, decreed many things, and took many counsels against him, just in the same way. But as all his presumptive attempts were vain, so were all those of the Jews and gentiles against Christ vain also. It now
Verse 4.-" He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh at them: the Lord shall have them in derision.”
This tautology, or repetition of the same thing, which is frequent in thë scriptures, is a sign of the thing being established; according to the authority of the patriarch Joseph, Gen. xli. 32, where, having interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh, he said, “ And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.” And therefore, here also, “shall laugh at them,” and, “shall have them in derision,” is a repetition, to show that there is not a doubt to be entertained that all these things will most surely come to pass.
And the gracious Spirit does all this for our comfort and consolation; that we may not faint under temptation, but lift up our heads with the most certain hope; because " he that shall come will come and will not tarry. Heb. x. 37. Wherefore, although in all human modes of expression tautology is a defect, and deemed superAuous, yet, in the things of God, it is most highly necessary; because, “hope deferred (as the wise man saith) maketh the heart sick," Prov. xiii 12; that true? hope, I mean, which labours under sufferings and the ? cross; for all delay is supportable to those who are labouring in the sufferings of Christ. Therefore, they have need of the all firm and all sure promise of God to support them. And as, on the one hand, consolation cannot be sufficiently pressed upon the afflicted from the promises of good things; so, on the other, terror cannot be sufficiently thundered against the insensible, the har
dened, and the unbelieving, from the threatenings of evil things. Therefore, in these things there is need of tautology, that the ungodly may be hurled into terror by all-sure and all-certain denunciations. For as the former bare always too much fear, and too little hope and conbolence; so the latter have always too much security and hope, without any thing of fear; as it is written Psalm xxxvi. 1. “There is no fear of God before their eres." Hence the latter want the fear of God, but the former want a hope in his mercy: that thus, the middle and right way may be preserved, which is thus described, "The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.” Psalm cxxxvii. 11.
These things, therefore, are written for our sakes, " that by patience and comfort of the Scripture we might bere hope :" Rom. xv. 4. For what is here written with reference to Christ, is applicable to all Christians : for khoever sincerely desires to be a Christian, especially if he teaches the word of Christ, will bear with his Herods, his Pilates, his rulers, his kings, his people, and his heathen, who rage against him, meditate vain things, rise up, and take counsel together, against him. For if these things are not done by men, yet they will be done by derils, or at least by his own conscience, and certainly
the hour of death: and then there is need of our remembering this and the like consolations, “ He that dwelleth in the heavens shall laugh at them; the Lord shall have them in derision,” and of standing firmly In this hope, and being moved by no circumstances
And, that the confidence of the afflicted may be the more firm, he emphatically saith, “ shall laugh at them,” and," shall have them in derision.” As if he had said: So certain is it that they attempt vain things, (although those things may appear to all human sense to be the most firmly established,) that the Lord will not deign to resist them as in any great and serious matter; but, as in a trilling matter and a thing of nought, he will.“ laugh at them" and "have them in derision.”. As it is written also Psalm xxxvii. 12; 13. “The wicked plotteth against