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fallen.” Do we ask how this is fulfilled now? Have we not seen in our own time, or did not our fathers see, a great antichristian power in the world, exalting itself against religion, and especially against Christ's Church? and did it not seem sure of success? anî yet has it not, after all its threats and triumphs, ceased to be, leaving nought behind it but the Egyptians upon the sea-shore, and a small dust and ashes,' for its worshippers fondly to hang over? And this is but one instance of what takes place in every age, the triumph of the Church over the world. “Thou, even Thou art to be feared; and who may stand in Thy sight when Thou art angry? Thou didst cause Thy judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth trembled, and was still, when God arose to judgment, and to help all the meek upon earth.” The meek of the earth; for it is pledged to them that they shall“ inherit” it. “The fierceness of men shall turn to Thy praise, and the fierceness of them shalt Thou refrain ... He shall refrain the spirit of princes, and is wonderful among the kings of the earth.”
Again; the same triumph of God's Name in His chosen people over the mighty of the earth is spoken of in Psalmi 93rd: “The floods are risen, O Lord, the floods have list up their voice, the floods lift up their waves. The waves of the sea are mighty, and rage horribly; but yet the Lord, who dwelleth on high, is mightier.”
Or again, in the 82nd, “ God standeth in the congregation of princes; He is a Judge among gods;" that is, among princes and rulers. “How long will ye give wrong judgment, and accept the persons of the ungedly? Defend the poor and fatherless; see that such as are in need and necessity have right. Deliver the outcast and poor; save them from the hand of the ungodly” Ilere tlie Church in her devotions speaks to the world, exhorting great men, and those who are rich in this world, to justice, impartiality, and mercy, and defending the poor, needy, and desolate,---two
of her special offices; but they will not listen : “they will not be learned, nor understand, but walk on still in darkness.” Accordingly the Psalm ends : “Arise, O Ged, and judge Thou the earth; for Thou shalt take all heathen to Thine inheritance :” which is, in other words, calling on God to extend His kingdom into all lands.
Other notes of triumph at the sovereignty of the chosen people over the powers of the earth are such as the following : “He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet. . . . The princes of the people are joined unto the people of the God of Araham.”* Again, “Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised in the city of our God, even upon His holy hill. The hill of Sion is a fair place, and the joy of the whole earth ... God is well known in her palaces as a sure refuge. For lo, the kings of the earth are gathered, and gone by together. They marvelled to see such things; they were astonished and suddenly cast down. .... Walk about Sion,” that is, the Church of Christ, “ and go round about her, and tell the towers thereof. Mark well her bulwarks, set up her houses, that ye may tell them that come after.”+ And again, “ Jerusalem is built as a city that is at unity in itself. . . . There are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David. ... O pray for the peace of Jerusalem : they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and plenteousness within thy palaces.”! And again, “The Lord hath chosen Sion to be an habitation for Himself: He hath longed for her. This shall be My rest for ever; here will I dwell, for I have a delight therein."'S Who or what is Sion? What do we mean when we read this Psalm, and say, “ The Lord hath chosen Sion ?” We mean the Church which he set up when He went away. The Psalm proceeds to speak of David, -by whom, in like manner, is meant Christ: “As for His enemies, I shall clothe them with shame; but upon Himself shall His crown flourish.”
* Ps. xlvii. 3. 9.
+ Ib. xlviii. 1-12.
2. So much on the one side. But now let us turn to the other aspect of the Christian Kingdom, which is much more frequently brought before us in the Psalms, and to which I wish principally to draw attention : the suffering, troublous state which, in this world, naturally befalls an empire so large, so aggressive, so engrossing, so stately and commanding, yet so destitute of weapons of earth. It provokes persecution at all times, both from its claims and from its weakness.
(1.) Thus then we cry out to God against our enemies. “ When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host of men were laid against me, yet shall not my heart be afraid; and though there rose up war against me, yet will I put my trust in Him.... Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in the right way, because of mine enemies."* Again, “ O let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the ungodly cast me down.'it Again, “Strangers are risen up against me, and tyrants, which have not God before their eyes, seek after my soul.”+ And again, “Mine enemies are daily in hand to swallow me up, for they be many that fight against me, 0 Thou Most Highest.”'S And again, “ Hide me from the gathering together of the froward, and from the insurrection of wicked doers.'' || Are the Psalms a dead letter, or are they spirit ? Do we use them as a form, or as the voice of our hearts? If we have any meaning when we use them, surely we imply that the Church is always militant, always in warfare, never at ease, never well with the world, never shielded from its ha
Ib. liv. 3.
Ps. xxxvii. 2, 3. 13.
§ Ib. Ivi. 2.
Ib. xxxvi. 11.
|| Ib. lxiv. 2.
tred, malice, and violence. And you will observe, that it is especially the proud and tyrannical who are her enemies. “Let not the foot of pride come against me.” “ Tyrants seek after my soul.” “ Princes also did sit and speak against me.* ... I will speak of Thy testimonies also even before kings.f ... The proud have had me exceedingly in derision; ... the proud have imagined a lie against me;... the proud have digged pits for me; ... Princes have persecuted me without a cause.”!
(2.) Next, we lay before Almighty God our desolations. As, for instance, " Thou lettest us be eaten up like sheep, and hast scattered us among the heathen. Thou sellest Thy people for nought, and takest no money for them.”'s “O. God, wherefore art Thou absent from us so long? why is Thy wrath so hot against the sheep of Thy pasture? O think upon Thy congregation, whom Thou hast purchased and redeemed of old.”ll For though the Kingdom of the Saints extends and flourishes as a whole, yet it is open to reverses of any magnitude, schisms, defections, losses, in its separate parts.
(3.) And further, we complain of our captivity. “Who shall give salvation unto Israel out of Sion ? When the Lord turneth the captivity of His people, then shall Jacob rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.” I “O that the salvation were given unto Israel out of Sion! O that the Lord would deliver His people out of captivity!'** “ Turn our captivity, O Lord, as the rivers in the south.”+t
(4.) Again, the Psalms say much concerning the poor and needy, and God's protecting them against bad men. “ The Lord also will be a defence for the oppressed. .... The poor shall not alway be forgotten; the patient abiding * Ps. cxix. 23. 46. 51. 69. 85.
Ib. 46. # Ib. 51. 69. 85. 161.
§ Ib. xliv. 12, 13. || Ib. lxxiv. 1, 2.
Ib. xiv. 11. ** Ib. liii. 6.
At Ib. cxxvi. 5.
of the week shall not perish for ever. Up, Lord, and let not man have the upper hand.”* “The ungodly for his own lust doth persecute the poor. ... The poor committeth himself unto Thee, for Thou art the helper of the friendless.”+ And in the text, “Lord, Thou hast heard the desire of the poor; .... to help the fatherless and poor unto their right, that the man of the earth be no more exalted against them.” “ They .smite down Thy people, O Lord, and trouble Thine heritage; ... the Lord will not fail His people, neither will He forsake His inheritance.” I “ Our soul is filled with the scornful reproof of the wealthy, and with the despitefulness of the proud." s Now consider the state of Christendom during many centuries, when tribes of fierce barbarians poured over its face, or settled in its territory; or when tyrannical kings and nobles oppressed its people, or rose against its rulers and pasters; or when power, whether barbarian or constituted, broke in upon its sacred retirements, ill-treated their holy or studious inmates, destroyed the work or scattered the fruits of years of tranquil diligence; and say whether the Psalter is not just the book which all those variously tried, equally helpless multitudes would choose, as more fitting than any other to express their sorrows and their faith, their prayers and their hopes?
(5.) Once more, the Psalms speak especially of the righteous being in trouble, plead for them, and wait for their deliverance. “The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth them.”ll “Fret not thyself because of the ungodly, neither be thou envious against the evil doers. ... The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.”'T “I was grieved at the wicked; I do also see the ungodly in such prosperity....O how suddenly do they consume, perish, and
* Ps. ix. 9-19.
lb. x. 2. 16.
IIb. xciv. 5. 14.