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Here, crown'd with everlasting joy,
And hail th’immortal King:
. 5. Great Salem's King; who bids each state On her decrees dependent wait;
In her, ere time begun, High on eternal base uprear'd, His hands the regal seat prepar'd
For Jesse’s favour'd son.
6. Mother of cities! O’er thy head See Peace, with healing wings outspread,
Delighted fix her stay. How blest, who calls himself thy friend! Success his labours shall attend,
And safely guard his way.
Thy walls, remote from hostile fear,
Nor war's wild wastes deplore;
Has pour'd forth all her store.
Let me, blest seat, my name behold
In this Psalm, the children of Zion describe the joy
consequent upon their restoration from captivity; they pray God to bring back the rest of their countrymen, and to complete his work; they foresee and predict the success of their labours, in rebuilding their ruined city with its temple, and cultivating again their desolated country. The return of Israel from Babylon, holds forth a figure of the same import with the exodus of that people from Egypt. And this Psalm, like the prophecies of Isaiah, represents the blessed effects of a spiritual redemption, in words primarily alluding to that temporal release.
1. When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. :
That Cyrus should issue a decree for the Jews to return to their own country, and to rebuild their city and temple; that he should dismiss such a number of captives, not only without money and without price, but should send them home laden with presents; this was the work of Jehovah, who only could thus turn the captivity of Zion. A restoration so complete, so strange and unlooked for, brought about at once, with out any endeayours used on the side of Israel, seemed, in all these respects, as a dream; and the parties concerned, when they saw and heard such things, could scarcely believe themselves to be awake. That the King of kings, of his own mere love and mercy, should take pity on poor mankind, in their more grievous captivity under sin and death; that he should send his only Son to purchase their liberty, his Spirit to enrich, and conduct them to their country above, and his heralds to proclaim such unexpected deliverance to all the world; this likewise was the work of the same Jehovah, who only could thus “turn again the captivity of his Zion.” Sinners, when the tidings of a salvation so great and marvellous are preached to them, think themselves in a dream, and with difficulty give credit even to the royal proclamation, though the great ; seal of heaven is affixed to it.
2. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing : then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them. 3. The ; LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.
The people of God soon find, that they are not mocked with illusions, but that all about them is reality and truth. Then sorrow and sighing, fear and distrust, fly away together. Joy fills their hearts, and overflows by their tongues, in songs of praise. The nations hear, and are astonished, and own the hand of Jehovah in the restoration of his people; “Jehovah hath done great things for them." The chosen people echo back the gladsome sound, and reply, with transports of gratitude, “ Jehovah bath done great things for us,
whereof we are glad.” Every word of this agrees not more exactly to the return from Babylon, than it does to that eternal redemption thereby prefigured, which is the grand subject of thanksgiving in the Christian church.
4. Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south.
The joy occasioned by Cyrus's proclamation having been described in the former part of the Psalm, we may now suppose some of the Jews ready to set out on their return home; at which time, and during their journey, they prefer this petition to God, that he would be pleased to bring back the rest of their countrymen, who, like floods rolling down upon the thirsty regions of the south, might people the land, and by their labours put an end to the desolations of Judah. That God would daily increase the number of true converts
from the world to the church, to clear and cultivate - the mystical vineyard, to build and to ornament the
holy city, should be the prayer of every labourer in that vineyard, of every citizen in that city. .
5. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. 6. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. - The fatigue of travelling from Babylon to Judea ; the melancholy prospect of a long-depopulated country, and ruined city; the toil necessary to be undergone, before the former could be again brought into order, and the latter rebuilt; all these considerations could pot but allay the joy of the released captives, and even