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est out the heavens like a curtain, i. e. of a tent, or, pavilion.
The Scriptures inform us, that the same Person, who redeemed the world, did also create it. In the ciid Psalm, as we are assured by St. Paul, “to the Son it is said, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of thy hands.” To him, therefore, as Creator, is the civth Psalm likewise addressed. He is described as invested with the glory which he had with the Father before the world was; a glimpse of which he vouchsafed to the three disciples, who were present at his transfiguration, when “his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.” The first instance of his creating power is afforded us by the heavens, which form a magnificent canopy, or pavilion, comprehending within it the earth, and all the inhabitants thereof. It is enlightened by the celestial orbs suspended in it, as the holy tabernacle was, by the lamps of the golden candlestick; and it was originally framed, erected, and furnished by its Maker, with more ease than man can construct and pitch a tent, for his own temporary abode. Yet must this' noble pavilion also be taken down; these resplendent and beautiful heavens must pass away, and come to an end. How glorious then shall be those new heavens, which are to succeed them, and to endure for ever!
3. Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind..
The generality of expositors interprèt this passagie of those “dark waters, compacted into thick clouds of the skies,” which the Almighty is elsewhere said to make the secret place, or chamber” of his residence, and a kind of “footstool” to his throne. And thus, indeed, the former part of our verse is plainly and immediately connected with what follows; “who maketh the clouds his chariot, and walketh upon the wings of the wind.”. How astonishingly magnificent and tremendous is the idea which these words convey to us, of the great King riding upon the heavens, encompassed with clouds and darkness, attended by the lightnings, those ready executioners of his vengeance, and causing the world to resound and tremble at the thunder of his power, and the noise of his chariot wheels! By these ensigns of royalty, these emblems of omnipotence, and instruments of his displeasure, does Jehovah manifest his presence, when he visits rebellious man, to make him own and adore his neglected and insulted Lord.
4. Who maketh his angels spirits ; his ministers a flaming fire..
From the manner in which these words are introduced, and the place where they stand, one should conceive the meaning of them to be, that Gud employs the elements of air and fire, the winds, and the lightnings, as his messengers, and ministers, to execute his commands upon the earth. But the apostle informs us, that they have a further reference to immaterial angels; either because those angels often appeared in the likeness, or because they were endued
with the properties, of wind and flame. Intellectual beings of the highest order in the realms above, are as ready to fulfil the word of Jehovah, as are the elements of this lower world. Both teach a lesson of obedience to the sons of men; to those of them more especially, who are appointed angels of the churches, and ministers of Christ."
5. Who laid the foundation of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.
In the original it is, “Who hath founded the earth upon its bases." . The formation of this globe on which we tread, is a wonderful instance of divine wisdom and power, whether we consider the manner in which the parts of it are put and kept together, or its suspension in the circumambient fluid, which, as some philosophers suppose, by pressing upon it on every side, forms so many columns, as it were, to support, and keep it balanced. The words, “that it should not be removed for ever,” do by no means imply, that the earth is stationary, or that it is eternal; but only thus much, that it is so constructed, as to answer the end, and to last the time, for which it was created and intended. It shall continue the same in itself, and with relation to other bodies, neither altering its shape, nor changing its course, till the day appointed for its dissolution ; after which, as there are to be “new heavens," so will there also be “a new earth."
6. Thou coveredst it with the deep, as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. 7. At thy rebuke they fled: at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away, 8. They go, or, went, up by the mountains :
they go, or, went, down by the valleys, unto the place which thou hast founded for them. 9. Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over: that they turn not again to cover the earth.
Most interpreters suppose this to be a description of the situation of things, and of what was effected by the power of God, on the third day of the creation, when he said, “Let the waters be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear; and it was so.” Indeed, the process at the creation was so exactly similar to that at the deluge, with regard to the circumstances here mentioned, that it matters not to which we apply the beautiful and truly poetical pas. sage before us. In both cases, the earth was covered with the waters, as with a garment, in every part; in both cases, they fled at the Almighty word, like the scattered remains of a routed army: from the heights of mountains, whither they had ascended, they sunk down into the valleys; from the valleys they retired to the bed of the ocean, and a part of them descended from thence into the great deep that lieth beneath. Bounds were set them, beyond which they should never pass, to overwhelm us any more for ever. And the experience of 4000 years hath taught us, that where the Creator hath laid his commands, plain sand : is a sufficient barrier. Thus the church hath been delivered from her spiritual enemies; and she hath a promise, on which she may with full confidence rely, that “the gates of hell shall never prevail against her.”
10. He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. 11. They give drink to every beast of the field; the wild 48808 quench their thirst.
The waters of the sea are not only prevented from destroying the earth, but, by a wonderful machinery, are rendered the means of preserving every living thing which moves thereon. Partly ascending from the great deep through the strata of the earth, partly exhaled in vapour from the surface of the ocean into the air, and from thence falling in rain, especially on the tops and by the sides of mountains, they break forth in fresh springs, having left their salts behind them; they trickle through the valleys, between the hills, receiving new supplies as they go; they become large rivers, and after watering, by their innumerable turnings and windings, immense tracts of country, the return to the place from whence they came. Thus every animal has an opportunity of quenching that thirst, which must otherwise soon put a period to its existence. The wild asses are particularly menos tioned, because they live in remote and sandy deserts; yet even such creatures, in such places, are by the God of nature taught the way to the waters; insomuch that the parched traveller, when in search of a fountain, finds them to be the best guides in the world, and needs only to observe and follow the herds of them descending to the streams. In the spiritual system, or new creation, there are wells of salvation, living springs, waters of comfort, of which all nations, even the most savage and barbarous, are invited to come and drink freely. They flow among the churches; they descend into the hearts of the lowly; and they refresh us in our passage through the wilderness; for