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loosed on Christ, or the pains of death or hell; (for many saints may be believed to have been in death and in hell, without any pain, having died in peace ;) but he seems to intimate, that Christ suffered pains in hell after his death, that he might conquer all things
Thus, I shall ever cleave to the words of Peter' until I shall have been taught better,--and believe that Christ, differently from all others, felt not only death but also the pains of death and of hell :--that his flesh, indeed, rested in hope, but that his soul tasted hell :-—and that this is what is meant in the present passage, “ Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”
And these negatives, “ thou wilt not leave,” and " thou wilt not suffer,” are more powerful than any affirmatives ; and more firmly attest the resurrection, than if he had said, “Thou shalt bring my soul out of hell, and shalt preserve thine Holy One from corruption.' And so, that scripture also, “ Mary hath chosen that good part which shall not be taken from her:" that is, shall most certainly remain with her.' And so again here, “ Thou wilt not leave;” that is, “thou wilt most speedily and quickly bring out.” And “ Thou wilt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption ;" that is, thou wilt make all haste to bring me to the sound life of the body. For the Holy Spirit seems to me in these words to speak simply, and to have rather a respect unto the time, than to the place, or any other circumstance. So that the sense might be, thou wilt not leave me so long as the time in which bodies are naturally used to be corrupted, but will raise me up before the time in which they generally see corruption. Otherwise, the scripture might have appeared to speak of some one that should be preserved by a miracle in the grave and in hell until the day of judgment: though no one was ever thus preserved, nor preserved in the grave at all, except Christ; for although some bodies, as in Egypt, are preserved by being anointed with myrrh, which prevents putrefaction, yet, even here the flesh is consumed and
absorbed in the preparation, which is contrary to what is here said, “My flesh shall rest in hope."
Ver. 11.-Thou hast made known to me the paths of life: thou wilt fill me with joy by thy countenance: at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Hieronymus renders it · Thou shewest me the path of life, a fulness of joys in thy presence, and eternal beauties at thy right hand :' where he makes three accusative cases governed by the verb “thou shewest;" one of which our translator has turned into a verb, “thou wilt fill;" and the third he has turned into a nominative, “there are pleasures :" no difference however is thus made in the sense. Peter in the Acts ii. follows the same rendering as our translator.
David here describes the glory of the resurrection in three points, eternal life, eternal joy, and eternal pleasure.—“The way of life" is so called, because it is that which leads from death unto life: as if he had said with the Apostle, Rom. vi. 9, “ Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more ; death hath no more dominion over him." For Christ before did not know the way of life experimentally; for this life is only the way of death ; or rather a race unto death. But to rise again unto eternal life, this is to know the way of life," and this is an effect of the power and right hand of God only; as it is here said, “Thou hast made known unto me the paths of life. And Psalm lxxxix. 48,“What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?” As if he had answered. No one!' Hence Psalm lxviii. 20, “He that is our God is the God of salvation : and to God the Lord belong the issues from death :” because death being swallowed up in victory, he brings us into eternal life: as he promised, Hosea xiii. 14, 15, “ I will ransom them from the power of the grave: I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction : repentance shall be hidden from mine eyes. Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the wind of the Lord shall
come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up;" that is, sin ; which is the spring, fountain, sting, and power of death.
· Eternal joy’or “the fulness of joy,’ (as Hieronymus renders it,) in the presence of God, and not badly so. This is that joy wherein the God of gods in Zion is beheld as he is, face to face, where the heart is filled to the full: so that it is expressed in words becoming the subject "the fulness of joys.” In this life we taste and know it in part only, but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. Here, there shall be no pain mixed with smiling, no sorrow mingled with comfort; which must of necessity be the case in this life, while we are at a distance from God, and only see through a glass darkly. Wherefore, we may call the joy of this life a joy in obscurity; but that joy, the joy of the countenance, or face, or presence of God. It is thus that the Hebrew expresses it, without a preposition, 'The fulness of the joys of thy face, (or countenance, or presence :') where we are led to understand that the fulness of joys stands in the face and glory of God being revealed unto us : as David saith in the Psalm following, ver. 15," I shall be satisfied when I awake
up after thy likeness,” And Christ saith, John xiv. 21, “ He that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him.” This is eternal joy, because it is the fulness of joys; whereas the joys which are revealed and imparled unto the saints in this state of miserable existence, are but as certain drops, and little fore-tastes, which soon pass over : but that fulness of joys which is revealed in the face of God, is perfect and endureth for evermore. “For this is life eternal, (saith John,) that they might know thee the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.
“ At thy right hand are pleasures for ever more.” These Hieronymus calls 'eternal beauties.' It seems to me, however, that all the pleasures of all the endowments
of body and soul, and all the faculties, are here sig.
Behold the beauties of the new-born world,
That all creation with her God revives !
“The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant or beautiful places :" but both places shew the pleasure which Christ has in those things. And in the Hebrew, the last expression Nezah is of a doubtful construction, signifying, as we render it ‘unto the end,' (infinem,) and also, as Hieronymus renders it, ' eternal :: which may be applied to all three of the particulars,—to 'the ways or paths of life,' to 'the fulness of joys,' and to the pleasures at the right hand of God; so that we may understand each as being eternal. Or, it may apply to the pleasures” only; which Hieronymus
hymus calls - beauties;" perhaps, because we are delighted and pleased with things beautiful and fair. But all these things will take place, in their fulfilment, when these our bodies, and the heavens and the earth also shall have become a new creation, at the end of the world, where all things shall be pleasant and sweet. In the mean time, as Paul saith
, • The earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation"; because the creature itself also (saith he)
shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God,' Rom viii. 19-21.
“ The right hand of God,” as we have observed before, signifies the life to come, or, that life which is in the presence of God: which life now begins by faith, and is to be consummated by vision. Amen! -We see, therefore, that this one Psalm above all others most clearly predicts the resurrection, and the glory of the resurrection: so that it is worthily called the MICHTAM or golden Psalm’of David; who here most signally evinces the knowledge which he had of divine things.
A new title this, a prayer of David :' which title plainly shews the subject-matter of the Psalm, which does not appear to me to be very different from that of Psalm v. and many others,--that is, a general complaint of the righteous people against the most injurious, most persecuting, and spirit-slaying hypocrites, with whom that righteous nation are ever at war; even as there was' a continual war between Jacob and Esau, and between the ungodly and the Word of truth : and therefore, it will be very easy to give the sense and meaning of this. Psalm, after having expounded the preceding
Psalm of prayer.
Ver. 1.---Hear my righteousness, O Lord, attend unto my cry; give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips.
This petition repeated thrice indicates a great power of feeling and many tears : because, the craft of the ungodly, in truth, grieves and atllicts the spiritual men