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tion, and from thee are derived all those springs of grace, which flow, by the divine appointment, while the world lasts, for the purification and refreshment of mankind upon earth.
PSA L. M. "LXXXVIII.
This Psalm, as Mr. Mudge observes, may well be said to be composed, according to its title, Toyo, to create dejection, to raise a pensive gloom or melancholy in the mind; the whole subject of it being quite throughout heavy, and full of the most dismal complaints. The nature and degree of the sufferings related in it; the strength of the expressions used to describe them; the consent of ancient expositors; the appointment of the Psalm by the church to be read on Good Friday; all these circumstances concur in directing an application of the whole to our blessed Lord. His unexampled sorrows, both in body and soul; his desertion in the day of trouble; his bitter passion, and approaching death; with his frequent and fervent prayers for the accomplishment of the promises, for the salvation of the church through him, and for the manifestation of God's glory: these are the particulars treated of in this instructive and most affecting composition *.
1. O Lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee: 2. Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry.
We hear in these words the voice of our suffering Redeemer. As man, he addresseth himself to his Father, “the Lord God of his salvation,” from whom he expected, according to the promises, a joyful and triumphant resurrection: he pleadeth the fervency and importunity of his prayers, offered up continually, “ day and night,” during the time of his humiliation and sufferings; and he entreateth to be heard in these his supplications for his body mystical, as well as his body natural; for himself, and for us all.
3. For my soul is full of troubles; and my life draweth nigh unto the grave. Is not this exactly parallel to what he said in the garden, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto “ death * “Full,” indeed, “ of troubles” was thy “soul,” O blessed Jesus, in that dreadful hour, when, under the united weight of our sins and sorrows, thouwert sinking into “the grave,” in order to raise us out of it. Let us judge of thy love by thy sufferings, and of both by the impossibility of our fully comprehending either. 4. I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength. Next to the troubles of Christ's soul, are mentioned the disgrace and ignominy to which he submitted. He who was the fountain of immortality, he from whom no one could take his life, who could in a moment have commanded twelve legions of angels to his aid, or have caused heaven and earth, at a word speaking, to fly away before him, he was “counted with them that go down into the pit;” he died, to all appearance, like the rest of mankind; nay, he was forcibly put to death, as a malefactor; and seemed, in the hands of his executioners, “as a “man that had no strength,” no power or might, to help and to save himself. “His strength went from “ him ; he became weak, and like another man.” The people shook their heads at him, saying, “He “saved others, himself he cannot save.” 5. Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more ; and they are cut off from thy hand. “Free among the dead;” that is, set at liberty, or dismissed from the world, and separated from all communication with its affairs, as dead bodies are ; “like” other “corpses that lie in the grave, whom “thou rememberest no more,” i.e. as living objects of providence upon earth: in this sense, “they are “cut off from God's hand,” which held and supported them in life. And in no other sense can these expressions be understood; since to imagine that the Psalmist, who so often speaks in plain terms of the resurrection, should here, when personating Messiah, deny that doctrine, would be a conceit equally absurd, and impious. 6. Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps. 7. Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. The sufferings of Jesus are represented by his being plunged into a dark and horrible abyss, with the indignation of God, due to our sins, resting upon him, and all the waves of affliction rolling over him. The same image is used in Psal. lxix. and many other places. 8. Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me: thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth. At the apprehension of Christ, “ All his disciples “forsook him and fled :” Matt. xxvi. 56. Peter denied and abjured his Master, as if his acquaintance had been a disgrace, and “an abomination:” at the crucifixion, it is observed by St. Luke, that “all his “ acquaintance stood afar off, beholding these “ things;” xxiii. 49, beholding the innocent victim environed by his enemies, and at length “shut up” in the sepulchre. The day must come, when each person, who reads this, shall be forsaken by the whole world; when relations, friends, and acquaintance, shall retire, unable to afford him any help and assistance; when he must die, and be confined in the prison of the grave, no more to “come forth,” until that great Easter of the world, the general resurrection. In the solitary and awful hour of our departure hence, let us remember to think on the desertion, the death, the burial, and the resurrection of our Redeemer. 9. JMine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LoRD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee. This verse contains a reiteration of the complaint and prayer made at the beginning of the Psalm. These are some of the “strong cryings with tears,” which, during the course of his intercessions for us upon earth, the Son of God poured forth “ in the “days of his flesh.” Heb. v. 7. 10. Wilt thou show wonders to the dead 2 shall the dead rise and praise thee # 1 1. Shall thy loving kindness be declared in the grave, or, thy faithfulness in destruction ? 12. Shall thy wonders be known in the dark 2 and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness 2 It hath been sometimes thought, that these verses imply a denial, or at least a doubt, of the resurrection from the dead; whereas they contain, in reality, the most powerful plea that Christ himself, in his prayers to the Father, could urge for it; namely, that, otherwise, man would be deprived of his salvation, and God of the glory thence accruing. “Wilt thou “show wonders to the dead,” while they continue in that state; or if thou shouldst, will they be sensible of those wonders, and make thee due returns of thankfulness 2 “Shall the dead rise up” in the congregation, “ and praise thee P’’ Must they not live
* Cum Psalmis xxii. et lxix. ad omnia convenit Psalmus lxxxviii., quod argumento est, eum eodem modo a nobis esse explicandum. Continet igitur pariter orationem Christi ad Patrem e cruce fusam. Auctor hujus Cantici non alium in finem illi titulum dedit hown, “erudientis,” quam ut Ecclesia posteriorum temporum ex eo disceret ultima haec Messiae fata. WITRINGA, Observat. Sacr. lib. ii. cap. 9.