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and stretching away to the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills. He sees valleys covered over with corn, blooming gardens, and verdant meadows, with flocks and herds feeding by rivers of water; till, ravished with the sight, he cries out, as Peter did at the view of his Master's glory, “ It is good to be “ here !"
It would be unreasonable to suppose that no parts of the Psalms may by us be spiritually applied, but such as are already expressly applied for us by the inspired writers. Let any man consider attentively a New Testament citation; then let him as carefully read over, with a view to it, the Psalm from which it is taken, and see if it will not serve him as a key, wherewith to unlock the treasures of eternal wisdom; if it will not “ open his eyes," and show him “won“ derful things” in God's laws. When we are taught to consider one verse of a Psalm as spoken by Messiah, and there is no change of person, what 'can we conclude, but that he is the speaker through the whole ? In that case, the Psalın becomes at once as much 'transfigured, as the blessed Person, supposed to be the subject of it, was on mount Tabor. And if Messiah be the speaker of one Psalm, what should hinder, but that another Psalm, where the same kind of scene is evidently described, and the same expressions are used, may be expounded in the same manner ?
It is very justly observed by Dr. Allix, that “although the sense of near fifty Psalms be fixed and “settled by divine authors, yet Christ and his apos“ tles did not undertake to quote all the Psalms
they could quote, but only to give a key to their “hearers, by which they might apply to the same “subjects the Psalms of the same composure and
expression *.” The citations in the New Testament were made incidentally, and as occasion was given. But can we imagine, that the church was not farther instructed in the manner of applying the Psalms to her Redeemer and to herself? Did she stop at the applications thus incidentally and occasionally made by the inspired writers? Did she stop, because they had directed her how to proceed? We know she did not. The primitive fathers, it is true, for want of critical learning, and particularly a competent knowledge of the original Hebrew, often wandered in their expositions; but they are unexçeptionable witnesses to us of this matter of fact, that such a method of expounding the Psalms, built upon the practice of the apostles in their writings and preachings, did universally prevail in the church from the beginning. They, who have ever looked into St. Augustin, know, that he pursues this plan invariably, treating of the Psalms as proceeding from the mouth of Christ, or of the church, or of * Preface to his Book of Psalms, p. 9.
both, considered as one mystical person. The same is true of Jerom, Ambrose, Arnobius, Cassiodore, Hilary, and Prosper. Chrysostom studies to make the Psalter useful to believers under the Gospel. Theodoret attends both to the literal and prophetical sense. But what is very observable, Tertullian, who flourished at the beginning of the third century, mentions it, as if it were then an allowed point in the church, that “ almost all the Psalms are spoken in “ the person of Christ, being addressed by the Son “ to the Father, that is, by Christ to God *.” In this channel flows the stream of the earliest Christian expositors. Nor did they depart, in this point, from ethe doctrine held in the church of the ancient Jews, who were always taught to regard MESSIAH as the capital object of the Psalter. And though, when the time came, that people would not receive Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah, it does not appear that they ever objected to the propriety of the citations made by our Lord and his apostles, or thought such passages applicable to David only and his con
cerns. “. Nay, the most learned of their Rabbis, who yhave written since the commencement of the Christian æra, still agree with us in referring many of the Psalms to Messiah and his kingdom ; differing only
* Omnes penè Psalmi Christi personam sustinent, Filium ad patrem, id est Christum ad Deum verba facientem representant,
about the person of the one, and the nature of the other.
When learning arosé, as it were, from the dead, in the sixteenth century, and the study of primitive theology by that means revived, the spiritual interpretation of the Scriptures revived with it. It was adopted at that time, by one admirably qualified to do it justice, and to recommend it again to the world by every charm of genius, and every ornament of language. I mean the accomplished Erasmus, who omitteth no opportunity of insisting on the usefulness and even the necessity of it, for the right understanding of the Scriptures ; for the attainment of that wisdom which they teach, and that holiness which they prescribe; seeming to think himself never better employed, than when he is removing the earth and rubbish with which those Philistines, the monks, had stopped up the wells of salvation, opened by the apostles and first fathers of the church, for the benefit of mankind *. This great man was much importuned by his learned friends, as he informeth us in an epistle to cardinal Sadolet, to write a commentary on the Psalms f. Such a work, executed by
* Enchirid. Mil. Christ. in Præfat. Canon. 5. et passim.
+ Lib. xxv. Epist. 11. edit. Froben. 10085, edit. Cler. Non semel rogatus sum, quum ab aliis, tum ab Anglorum rege, ut in omnes Psalmos ederem Commentarios; sed deterrebant me quum
him, had been one of the richest gifts that were ever cast into the Christian treasury; as we may judge from the specimen which he hath left us, in his discourses on eleven of them. Some of these were drawn up with a view to enlarge upon the transactions of the times; and in all of them he is more diffuse and luxuriant, than, it is to be presumed, he would have been in a general exposition. But they abound with a rich variety of sacred learning, communicated in a manner ever pleasing, and ever instructive." If at any time he takes us out of the road, it is to show us a fine country, and we are still in company with Erasmus. He considers a Psalm, as it may relate to Christ, either suffering or triumphant; as it may concern the church, whether consisting of Jews or Gentiles, whether in adversity or prosperity, through the several stages and periods of its existence; and as it may be applicable to the different states and circumstances of individuals, during the trials and temptations which they meet with, in the course of their Christian pilgrimage and warfare here below, till, having overcome their last enemy, they shall sit down with their Lord in his kingdom; when the
alia multa, tum illa duo potissimum; quod viderem hoc argumentum vix posse pro dignitate tractari, nisi quis calleat Hebræorum literas, atque etiam antiquitates; partim quod verebar ne turba Commentariorum obscuraretur Sermo Propheticus, citius quam illustraretur,