« AnteriorContinuar »
us behold, as in a glass, the salvation of believers by baptism, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who made the depths of the grave, as he had done those of the sea, a way for his ransomed to pass over; and the church, like another Israel, saw her enemies, in effect, dead at her feet. 17. The clouds poured out water; the skies sent out a sound; thine arrows also went abroad. 18. The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook. It is said, Exod. xiv. 24. that at the time when Israel was passing the sea, “the Lord looked upon “the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire “ and the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyp“tians, and took off their chariot-wheels, and made “them to go heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let “us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fight“eth for them against the Egyptians.” The verses of our Psalm now before us, seem to explain more particularly the manner in which the Lord “look“ed upon, and troubled, and fought against, the “Egyptians,” upon that occasion; namely, by thunders and lightnings, storms and tempests, rain, hail, and earthquake, the usual tokens and instruments of Almighty displeasure. Josephus, in like manner, relates, that the destruction of the Egyptians was accompanied by storms of rain from heaven ; by dreadful thunders and lightnings; and, in short, by every possible circumstance of terror, which could testify and inflict upon man the vengeance of an incensed God. From scenes like these, we learn to form an idea of that power which discomfited the infernal host; raised Christ from the dead; vanquished opposition and persecution; subdued the world to the obedience of faith; supports and protects the church; will overthrow antichrist; raise the dead; cast the wicked, with death and Satan, into the lake of fire; and exalt the righteous, to sing, with angels in heaven, “the song of Moses and of the Lamb.” See Rev. xv. 3. 19. Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known. The dispensations and ways of God, like the passage through the Red Sea, are all full of mercy to his people; but they are also, like that, often unusual, marvellous, inscrutable ; and we can no more trace his footsteps, than we could have done those of Israel, after the waters had returned to their place again. Let us resolve, therefore, to trust in him at all times; and let us think we hear Moses saying to us, as he did to the Israelites, when seemingly reduced to the last extremity; “Fear ye not, stand still, and see “the salvation of Jehovah.” Exod. xiv. 13. 20. Thou leddest thy people, like a flock, by the hand of Moses and JAaron. The loving kindness of God towards Israel did not stop at the Red Sea, but he conducted his chosen flock, by the guidance of faithful pastors, through all the perils of the wilderness, to the land of promise. We likewise, through thy mercy, O blessed Lord Jesus, have passed the Red Sea at our baptism; and are now journeying in the wilderness. Give us those meek, and lowly, and tractable dispositions, which become the sheep of thy pasture; set over us skilful and vigilant shepherds; and be thou ever both with them and with us; until, having surmounted all difficulties and dangers, led by thy grace, and supported by thy providence, we all come, in perfect safety, to the land of everlasting rest; there to live with thee, one fold under one shepherd, world without end.
FIFTEENTH DAY. —EVENING PRAYER.
PS A LM LXXVIII.
This Psalm containeth a declaration of God's dealings with his people, and of their behaviour to him,
in Egypt, in the wilderness, and after their settlement in Canaan, to the days of David. It is written for the use and admonition of Christians, who may here view, as in a glass, the mercies they have received, and the returns which, alas ! they have but too often made for them.
1. Give ear, O my people, to my law : incline 3your ears to the words of my mouth.
In this verse, the Psalmist opens his commission, and speaks, as one having authority from above to instruct the world. He demands a large and attentive audience, while, by a series of examples, he sets forth the goodness of God, and the ingratitude of man, for the admonition of succeeding ages, to the end of time. St. Paul, speaking of the very transactions related in our Psalm, saith of them, “Now “all these things happened unto them for ensamples, “Gr. rvrol, types; and they are written for our ad“monition, upon whom the ends of the world are “come:” l Cor. x. l I. We Christians, therefore, must consider ourselves as the “people” who are to “give ear to the law,” or “doctrine,” inculcated by the following epitome of the Israelitish history; we must “incline our ears to the words of" the Prophet's “mouth.” 2. I will open my mouth in a parable : I will utter dark sayings of old: 3. Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. The Psalm, being in itself a plain narrative of facts, can contain nothing parabolical or enigmatical in it, unless those facts were, what St. Paul affirms them to have been, “ensamples,” types, or representations of other facts relative to the Christian church. As facts, they were “heard and known,” and handed down from father to son ; but, with respect to the instructions and admonitions comprehended in them, and to be extracted by an application to parallel times and circumstances, they had the nature of a “parable,” requiring wisdom and attention so to understand and apply them. It is observable, that our Lord is, by St. Matthew, said to have spoken to the multitude altogether in parables, “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the “Prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in para“bles,” &c. citing the second verse of the Psalm now before us: Mat. xiii. 35. If it doth not follow from this citation, that the Prophet actually speaks the Psalm in the person of Christ, yet thus much at least is evident from it, that the history of old Israel somewhat resembles the letter of the Gospel parables, and contains, shadowed out under it, the history of a correspondent state of things in the mew Israel, or church Christian *. And although the Psalm, like a large and capacious palace, be laid out into a multitude of different apartments; yet, perhaps, we may find, that the Scriptures of the New Testament will furnish us with a key, which will gain us admission into every one of them, and put us in possession of the treasures of divine wisdom therein deposited. 4. We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come, Heb. the latter generation, the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. The writer of this Psalm is desirous that “the “praises of Jehovah, his strength, and the wonder“ful works that he hath done,” an account of which had reached his own time, should be transmitted through all the periods of the Jewish economy, down to the Ynns hit, the “latter generation,” or generation to arise in the “latter days;” the generation of the faithful, to be begotten unto God, from among the Gentiles, through the Gospel. Of this generation are we, who now, in these words of the holy