« AnteriorContinuar »
" ted for destruction." " Therefore they shall not 6 stand in the judgment." The poor and distressed whom they refused to relieve, the widow and the fatherless whom they oppressed, the innocent whom they injured, the unhappy wretches whom, by their artifices, they betrayed into the paths of destruction, shall rise up and witness against them. Their own hearts will condemn them. The final sentence is pronounced, they are driven from the presence of the Lord, they are cast into outer darkness, where the worm dieth not, where the fire is never quenched, and it had been happy for them that they had never been born.
I shall conclude with one reflection. You see, my brethren, from what has been said, that a life of wickedness is gradual and progressive. One crimin. al indulgence lays the foundation for another, till, by degrces, the whole super-structure of iniquity is complete. When the finner has once put forth his hand to the forbidden fruit, and thinks that he can taste and live, he returns with greater and greater avidity to repeat his crimes, till the poison spreads through all his veins, and all the balm of Gilead be ineffectual for his cure. Fly therefore, I call upon you in the name of Heaven, fly, from the approaching foe. Guard your innocence as you would guard your life. If you advance one step over the verge of virtue, unless the grace of Heaven interpose, down you sink to the bottomless abyss. Come not then near the territories of danger. Stand back. One sin indulged, gathers strength and abounds; it increases, it multiplies, it familiarizes itself with our frame, and introduces its whole brood of infernal in. mates, worse than pestilence, famine or sword.
1 The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein.
2 For he hath founded it upon the seas, and establisbed it upon the floods.
3 W bo fall ascend into the hill of the Lord? and who fall stand in his holy place ?
4. He that hath clean bands, and a pure heart ; who hath not lift up his foul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
5 He ball receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 This is the generation of them that seek him, zbat seek thy face ,0 Jacob. Selah.
7 Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory hall come in.
THIS Psalm was composed when David removed the ark of the covenant from the house of Obededom to Jerusalem. But though it was com. posed for that occasion, it is evident, from the latter part of it, that it was ultimately intended for that more illustrious event, when Solomon transferred the ark from the tabernacle into the temple which he had built. As David was not only the Poet, but also the Prophet of God, he foresaw the future events of the Church, by the inspiration of the Divine Spirit; and by the same inspiration, he composed songs and pieces of music adapted to these events. These he committed to Asaph, Hemon, and Jeduthum, the prefects of sacred poetry, to be sung as opportunities required.
The occasion of this psalm is one of the grandest and most illustrious that any where occurs in history, Solomon, by the divine direction, had now finished the temple, that superb monument of oriental mag. nificence and glory, which drew the princes of neighbouring nations to come and contemplate. The feast of tabernacles, the most folemn and most fre- . quented of the Jewish festivals, was now at hand. All the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, were now assembled at Jerusalem to the feast. It was then that Solomon proceeded to dedicate the temple, and to fix the ark in its appointed place. The proceflion to the temple was grand and triumphant. Solomon, arrayed in all his glory, attended with the elders of Israel, and the heads of the tribes went before; after him marched the priests in their facerdotal robes, bearing the ark; to them succeeded the four thousand sacred musicians, clothed in white. robes, and divided into claffes, some of them singing with the voice, others playing upon harps and trumpets, and pfalteries and cymbals, and other instru. ments of music; behind them followed the whole congregation, with palms in their hands, rejoicing and wondering. Solomon had, on this occasion, made an oblation of twenty-two thousand oxen, and one hundred and twenty thousand sheep, of which the Almighty testified his approbation and acceptance, by causing the sacred fire to come down anew from heaven, and consume the facrifice. The Priests and Levites, as they went along, sprinkled the ground with the blood of the victims, and perfumed the air with frankincense and sweet odours. This, with the fumes of incense which rose in clouds from the al
tars, had diffused such a potent perfume through the air, that people at a distance reflected on the breath they drew as a celestial influence, and regarded the strains of harmony which they heard, as something more than mortal ; actually imagining that the God of the Hebrews had descended from his heaven to take possession of the temple which they had dedicated to his service. Nor were they mistaken. For after the priests had carried the ark into the holy of holies, had placed it between the cherubims, and had reverently withdrawn, the cloud of divine glory descended and rested upon the house. The Shechinah or divine presence took up its abode in the most holy place. Animated by this sublime occasion, the Psalmist begins his ode with celebrating the dominion of the Deity over this vast universe, and all its inhabitants, and setting forth their entire subjection to his power and providence.
Verse 1: and 2. The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. - For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. David ascertains the sovereignty of God over the world, and its subjection to him, from his having created it at first ; from his having established it upon the seas, and founded it upon the floods. By this he opposes the sceptics and infidels . of those times, who withdrew nature from the Di.. vinity, and denied the interposition of Providence in human affairs : by this he distinguishes the God whom he adored, from the idols of the Gentiles around him, who were confined to one part or province of nature: by this he endeavours to inspire the Jews with gratitude and love to their God and King,
who chose them from among all the nations whom he governs by his providence, to be his favourite people, the object of his particular providence, and peculiar loving-kindness. The Psalmist next determines where that God whose perfections he had been describing was to be worshipped, and which of his worshippers were to be the objects of his favour and approbation.
Verse 3. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? and who shall stand in his holy place? It was usual among the Jews to add the name of God to any thing that was great, that was wonderful, and of which they would give us a high idea. Lofty cedars in Scripture, are called the trees of the Lord : high hills are called the mountains of God: wine, on account of its generous, joyous, and exhilarating qualities, is said to cheer the heart of God and man. In this place, the phrase is not to be taken in its usual sense. By the hill of God, is here meant the hill of Zion, which the Almighty had chosen to be the place of his worship, and where he had command. ed his temple to be built. Near the same tract of ground there were three hills. Zion, where the city and castle of David stood; Moriah, where the temple was built, and Calvary, where our Saviour was crucified ; but these, for the most part, went under the general name of Zion. By the phrases of ascending into the hill of God, and standing in his holy place, the Psalmist would point out the persons who are to be admitted to worship God in his temple here, and in consequence of that, to be received into the temple of his glory above, and to dwell for ever with the Lord. We have the character and qualities of these persons expressed in the following verse.