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again to do that? “Shall thy loving kindness" to the sons of Adam, in me their Redeemer, “ be declared,” shall the Gospel be preached, “in the grave?”
or thy faithfulness,” in accomplishing the promises concerning this loving kindness, shall it be manifested “ in that destruction" wrought by death upon the bodies of men ? “ Shall thy wonders,” the wonders of light, and life, and salvation, “ be known in the “ dark” tomb; "and thy righteousness," which characterizes all thy dispensations, shall it be remembered and proclaimed “ in the land of” silence and
forgetfulness ?” A Christian, upon the bed of sickness, may undoubtedly plead with God, in this manner, for a longer continuance of life, to glorify him here upon earth. But every respite of that kind can be only temporary. All men, sooner or later, must die: and then they can never more experience the mercies, or sing the praises of God, unless they rise again. So that if the argument hold in one case, it certainly holdeth still stronger in the other.
13. But unto thee have I cried, O LORD, and in the morning shall my prayer prevent me.
li. LORD, why castest thou off my soul ? why hidest thou thy face from me ?
Since therefore the wonders, the loving kindness, the faithfulness, and the righteousness of God, cannot be manifested by man's redemption, if Messiah be left under the dominion of death, he redoubles his prayers for the promised deliverance; and speaks of his redemption in the hour of sorrow, as in Psal. xxii. 1. My God, my God, why hast thou for“ saken me?" &c.
15. I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up : while I suffer thy terrors, I am distracted; Heb. I am distressed, not knowing which way to turn my self*. 16. Thy fierce wrath goeth over me, thy terrors have cut me off. 17. They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together.
We are not to imagine that the holy Jesus suffered for us only at Gethsemane, and on mount Calvary. His whole life was one continued passion ; a scene of labour and sorrow, of contradiction and persecution ; “ he was afflicted,” as never man was, “ from his
youth up,” from the hour of his birth, when, thrust out from the society of men, he made his bed in the stable at Bethlehem; he was " ready to die,” a victim destined and prepared for that death which, by anticipation, he tasted of through life; he saw the flaming sword of God's “ fierce wrath” waiting to “ cut him off” from the land of the living; the “ terrors” of the Almighty set themselves in array against him, threatening, like the mountainous waves of a tempestuous sea, to overwhelm his amazed soul. Let not the church be offended or despond, but rather let her rejoice in her sufferings, by which, through every period of her existence, from youth to age, she “ filleth up.that which is behind of the “afflictions of Christ,” who suffers and will be glorified in his people, as he hath already suffered and been glorified for them. See Col. i. 24.
* Dominus ipse de se, Psal. lxxxviii. 16., “ Fero terrores “ tuos; animi linquor.” Loquitur de extremis suis angoribus et doloribus. VITRINGA in Jesai. ï. 667.
18. Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.
It is mentioned again, as a most affecting circumstance of Christ's passion, that he was entirely forsaken, and left all alone, in that dreadful day. The bitter cup was presented filled to the brim, and he drank it off to the dregs. No man could share in those sufferings by which all other men were to be redeemed. His“ lovers and friends," his disciples and acquaintance,“ were put far from him ;" they all " forsook him, and fled,” to hide themselves from the fury of the Jews,“ in darkness,” in dark, i. e. secret places. Thus it is written in the Psalms, and thus in the Gospels it is recorded to have happened. Oftentimes, o blessed Jesu, do we forsake thee; but do not thou forsake us, or take thy holy Spirit from us.
SEVENTEENTH DAY.-EVENING PRAYER.
This Psalm is appointed by the church to be read
on Christmas-day. It celebrates, ver. 1-4. the mercies of God in Christ, promised to David ; 5–13. the almighty power of Jehovah, manifested in his works and dispensations ; 14. his justice, mercy, and truth ; 15—18. the happiness and security of his people; 19--37. his covenant made
with David, as the representative of Messiah, who should come of his seed; 38–45. the church lamenteth her distressful state, at the time when this Psalm was penned * ; 46-51. she prayeth for the accomplishment of the promise ; and, in the mean time, 52. blesseth Jehovah.
i !. I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever : with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.
The “ mercies of Jehovah” have ever employed the voices of believers to celebrate them. These mercies were promises to the human race, in their great representative and surety, before the world began; 2 Tim. i. 9. Tit. i. 2. they were prefigured by ancient dispensations; and, in part, fulfilled, at the incarnation of Christ. The “ faithfulness" of God, in so fulfilling them, is now “ made known," by the holy services of the Christian church, “to all generations.”
2. For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever; thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens.
Whatever be at any time the state of the church on earth, she knoweth that the foundation of God standeth sure; that the sacred edifice, raised thereon,
Sedecià capto, domo David e solio deturbata, promissiones Dei irritas videri propheta queritur, necdum adesse Christum, Bossuet.-Dr. Kennicott imagines it to have been composed by Isaiah, as a solemn and public address to God, at the time when Rezin and Pekah were advancing against Jerusalem.
will be incorruptible and eternal as “heaven" itself, where only mercy and truth are to have their perfect work, in the everlasting felicity of the redeemed. Of this felicity, which is to be the consummation of God's promises, and our hopes, we behold some faint resemblance, as often as we view the stability, the beauty, and the glory of the visible material “ heavens."
3. I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant : 4. Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations.
The two former verses set forth a profession of faith in God's mercy: these two assign the ground of such faith ; namely, the covenant which God is here introduced as declaring that he had made with David, and which he did make with him by the prophet Nathan : 2 Sam. vii. 12, &c. The covenant relates to David's “ seed,” and to the “establishment of his “ throne” in that seed; literally, in Solomon for a time; spiritually, in Christ for ever : “ When thy • days shall be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which
shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish “his kingdom. He shall build an house for my
name, and I will establish the throne of his king“ dom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be
my son." These last words are cited by the apostle, Heb. i. 5. as spoken of Christ, to evince his superiority over the angels. Yet, that the whole passage does, in the letter, relate to Solomon, can admit of no doubt, he being the “ seed” and immediate