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which his progenitor David had before used under his own troubles, but which were given by inspiration, with a view to the case of that blessed Person whom, in those troubles, he had the honour to prefigure. Other Psalms there are, which disclose far different
In them the sorrows of David are at an end, and the day of his deliverance hath already dawned. The heavens are opened, and Jehovah appeareth in the cause of his afflicted servant. He descendeth from above, encompassed with clouds and darkness, preceded by fire and hail, proclaimed by thunder and earthquake, and attended by lightnings and whirlwinds. The mountains smoke, and the rocks melt before him ; the foundations of the globe are uncovered, and the deep from beneath is moved at his presence. The adversary is dismayed and confounded; opposition, in the height of its career, feels the blast through all its powers, and instantly withers away. The anointed of God, according to his original designation, is at length elevated to the throne; his sceptre is extended over the nations ; the temple is planned by him, and erected by his son ; the services of religion are appointed in perfect order and beauty; Jerusalem becometh a praise in all the earth : and the kingdom is established in honour, peace, and felicity. If in Psalms of the former kind the holy Jesus might behold those persecutions and sufferings, under which he was to be
humbled, and to mourn, during his pilgrimage here below; in Psalms of this latter sort, he might strengthen and console himself, as a man “ touched “ with the feeling of our infirmities, and tempted in “all points like as we are,” by viewing “ the glory " that should follow ;" by contemplating the manifestation of the Father in favour of his beloved Son; his own joyful resurrection, triumphant ascension, and magnificent inauguration ; the conversion of the world, and the establishment of the church; events, which were foreshadowed by those above mentioned: and to which, when the strongest expressions made use of by the divine Psalmist are applied, they will no longer appear hyperbolical; especially if we bear in mind, that these prophetic descriptions wait for their full and final accomplishment at that day, when the mystical “ body of Christ,” having " filled up " that which is behind of his afflictions *,” shall also, amidst the pangs and convulsions of departing nature, arise from the dead, and ascend into heaven; where all the members of that body, which have been afflicted and have mourned with their Lord and Master, shall be comforted and glorified together with him t.
• Colos. i. 24.
+ Neque prætermittendum illud Augustini passim : tunc Psalmos videri suavissimos, ac divinissima luce perfusos, cùm in his caput et membra, Christum et Ecclesiam, sive apertè propalatos, sive latenter designatos intelligimusQuare iterum atque iterum
In some of the Psalms, David appears as one suffering for his sins. When man speaks of sin, he speaks of what is his own; and, therefore, every Psalm where sin is confessed to be the cause of sorrow, belongs originally and properly to us, as fallen sons of Adam, like David and all other men. This is the case of the fifty-first, and the rest of those which are styled Penitential Psalms, and have always been used in the church as such. Somes times, indeed, it happens, that we meet with heavy complaints of the number and burden of sins, in Psalms from which passages are quoted in the New Testament as uttered by our Redeemer, and in which there seems to be no change of person, from beginning to end. We are assured, for instance, by the apostle, Heb. x. 5. that the sixth, seventh, and eighth yerses of the fortieth Psalm,“ Sacrifice and offering “ thou didst not desire,” &c. are spoken by Messiah coming to abolish the legal sacrifices, by the oblation of himself once for all. The same person, to ap
erigamus animos: atque ubi Davidem atque Solomonem ; ubi Davidis hostes, Saülem, Achitophelem, alios; ubi bella et pacem, captivitatem, libertatem, ac cætera ejusmodi audimus; tum animo infigamus Christum, et Ecclesiam laboribus periculisque exercitam, atque inter adversa et prospera peregrinantem; tum sanctorum persecutores, non modò visibiles, sed etiam invisibiles illas atque aëreas potestates, pugnasque in hâc vità perpetes, ac secuturam postea pacem sempiternam. Bos. SUET, Dissertat, in Psal. ad fin.
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pearance, continues speaking, and, only three verses after, complains in the following terms: “Innumera" ble evils have compassed me about, mine iniquities
have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to “ look up; they are more than the hairs of my head, " therefore my heart faileth me.” So again, there are no less than five quotations from different parts of the sixty-ninth Psalm, all concurring to inform us that Christ is the speaker through that whole Psalm. Yet the fifth verse of it runs thus : "O God, thou knowest
my foolishness, and my OWN guiltiness is not hid “ from thee.” The solution of this difficulty given, and continually insisted on, in the writings of the Fathers, is this; that Christ, in the day of his passion, standing charged with the sin and guilt of his people, speaks of such their sin and guilt as if they were his own, appropriating to himself those debts for which, in the capacity of a surety, he had made himself responsible. The lamb which, under the law, was offered for sin, took the name DwX,“ guilt,” because the guilt contracted by the offerer was transferred to that innocent creature, and typically expiated by its blood *. Was not this exactly the case, in truth and reality, with the Lamb of God ? “ He did no sin, “ neither was guile found in his mouth; but he bare “ our sins in his own body on the tree t. He was made " sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made
* See Levit. v, 6.
+1 Pet. ii. 22.
" the righteousness of God in him *." Christ and the church compose one mystical person, of which he is the head, and the church the body; and as the body speaks by the head, and the head for the body, he speaks of her sin, and she of his righteousness ; which consideration is at the same time a key to any claims of righteousness made in the Psalms by her, and to any confession of sin made by him. This seems to be a satisfactory account of the matter. Such, at least, appears to have been the idea
generally adopted and received, in the first ages of the Christian church; a circumstance which, it is presumed, will be deemed a sufficient apology for the author, if, in the explication of such passages, he hath ventured to proceed accordingly. Nay, and even in reciting the Penitential Psalms, when the unhappy sufferer is ready to sink down under that weight of woe which sin hath laid upon him, if he will extend his thoughts, as he is sometimes directed to do, so that holy and most innocent Person, who felt and sorrowed so much for us all, he will thereby furnish himself with the best argument for patience, and an inexhaustible source of comfort. Nor can it, indeed, well be imagined, that our blessed Lord, as a member of the Jewish church, and an attendant on the service of the synagogue, though conscious to himself of no sin, did not frequently join with his
* 2 Cor. x. 21.