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serves also for the expression of our devotional meditations. To meditate is neither asking God for what we want, nor thanking Him for what we have, nor glorifying Him for what we are hoping to enjoy. To meditate is to think and to reflect. It is to ponder with reverence and love, on the miracles of God's greatness and goodness set before us in his works and in his word. It is to reflect on our own vileness; how unworthy we are of the least of all God's mercies. It is to dwell on his threats for the awakening of our fear, on his promises for the enlivening of our hope, and above all, on the great manifestation of his loving us, for the kindling of our love. It is to commune with our own hearts in solitude, and yet to feel that we never are alone, and so rather to commune secretly with God. Thus "Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide." Gen. 24. 63. Thus Joshua exhorted the people of Israel: This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night." Josh. 1. 8. Thus St. Paul exhorted Timothy, "meditate upon these things." 1 Tim. 4. 15. And thus the blessed mother of our Lord not only knew of the many marvels connected with his birth, but also "kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2. 19. When thus we ponder on the things of God, whether our cold hearts want thoughts, or whether our quickened thoughts want words for utterance, the Book of Psalms will furnish us largely with words that breathe the spirit of devotion, and with thoughts that glow with warmth of thankfulness and love. Let us use them often for this purpose, and we shall find that they will greatly help us towards that which the Psalmist devoutly longed for, saying, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be alway acceptable in thy sight, O Lord: my strength, and my Redeemer." Ps. 19. 14, 15.
The prevalence of Christ's kingdom against opposition. 1 Why do the heathen rage, art my Son; this day have I and the people imagine a vain begotten thee. thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.
5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. LECTURE 832.
7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou
The typical application of the Book of Psalms to Christ. Among the many wonders of God's providence, which prove that all things on earth are overruled for good by One who is infinitely wise, not the least is this, that He has contrived in many instances so to order the events of one age, as to make them prefigure those of another; so to dispense sorrows and successes, to individuals among the children of men, as to render the things which befal them in their lives, a kind of prophecy of those which would afterwards befal his own dear Son our Saviour Christ. This is that which we mean by saying, that any man in particular is a type of our blessed Lord, or that any event in any man's life is typical of some circumstance in our Lord's history. That there were many such under the Old Testament, we are well assured, by that which is revealed on this subject in the Gospel. And there is perhaps no single person, whose history is so frequently referred to in this light, as David; nor any single book of Scripture which we are warranted in thus applying typically to the labours and sufferings, to the warfare and the triumph of our Lord, to so great extent, as the Book of Psalms.
If we look at the divine poem before us in its application to David, we shall consider that it expresses his triumphant joy, when at length seated on the throne of Israel he was preparing to extend his dominion among the neighbouring heathen countries, to the full extent of the promised land, as originally revealed to Moses. See Num. 34. 1-12. Referring to the sure promises
of God, he knew that it was in vain for the kings of the earth to take counsel against him. He felt certain that the Lord would make light of their resistance to his will. He considered himself as fulfilling that which had been decreed in heaven, and which could not be by any means frustrated on earth. And going forth as he did to conquer, under the authority of his heavenly Father, he advised those whom he was invading not to provoke his wrath, but to submit themselves to that undoubted will of God, which he was appointed to proclaim, and execute.
But now see the sense in which the glorious company of the apostles understood at least one portion of this psalm. We read in the fourth chapter of the Acts, that when Peter and John had been imprisoned, and charged by the rulers of the Jews "not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus," "being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Christ." Acts 4, 18, 23-26. When we consider who they were that spake these words, we cannot have a shadow of doubt as to the proper application of the words quoted from this psalm, to the resistance of the world against the kingdom of Christ. And when we consider the connexion between one portion of the psalm and another, we cannot hesitate to interpret all of it in relation to our Saviour. Or if we could, we should find St. Paul in another chapter of the Acts thus plainly applying it to Christ, saying, "We declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee." Acts 13. 32, 33.
The resurrection of Christ was frequently insisted on by the apostles, in their teaching, as the great demonstration of his power. Thanks to their faithfulness in declaring it, thanks to their zeal in dying for the proof of it, we, inhabitants of a country then heathen in the extreme, are now the possession of Christ Jesus. Thanks then be to God, for having called us with a holy calling! Thanks be to his blessed Son, for vouchsafing to reign over us! Thanks be to the Holy Ghost, for our new birth and adoption as children of God! Oh let us demonstrate the power of Christ's resurrection by hearts set on things above, and by lives renewed after the pattern of our Saviour's, and by zeal for the enlargement of his kingdom, and by reverence, devotion, and affection to Himself!
David, bemoaning affliction, professeth trust in God.
A psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his Son.
1 LORD, how are they increased that trouble me? many are they that rise up against me.
2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.
3 But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
4 I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.
5 I laid me down and slept;
6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. 7 Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.
8 Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.
The past mercies of God our plea for obtaining more. The Psalm which we last considered was probably composed on the occasion of David's establishment on the throne. Its expressions throughout are those of triumphant confidence in God. The psalm before us was written under very different circumstances, and in a very different frame of mind. Yet the mournful strain in which it commences soon gives place to an expression of trust in God. And he that at first utters his complaint before the Lord, of the numbers that rise up against him, declares almost in the same breath, "I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.” Whether the believer have prosperity or adversity, it is but for a short time that his spirits are affected by the change in his outward condition. And though "no chastisement for the present seemeth to be joyous," Heb. 12. 11, yet every trial of our faith that can befal us, will, if we rightly use it, help to add unto our joy, as well as exercise our patience. We are told in the title that this is a psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son. Let us revert to the particulars of this painful history, as set down in the second book of Samuel. "There came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom. And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for we shall not else escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly, and bring evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword." 2 Sam. 15. 13, 14. A lamentable state of things, a father fleeing from before the face of his own highly favoured son, a king dethroned by his own subject, and afraid lest if he tarried he should suffer harm, a: the people of his city should be slain ! Yet David in his haste found time both to pour out his grief
before the Lord, and also to express his confidence of trust, as well as to pray earnestly for the help he trusted in. What trouble ought ever so to hurry us, as that we should not find time for prayer? What business was ever hindered, whose safety was ever endangered, by time spent in applying to God for help, and professing to Him faith in his assistance?
On comparing David's words with the case of our blessed Lord, we cannot fail to be struck with the resemblance between the sovereign of Israel, fleeing from Jerusalem in mournful haste, lest he should put the lives of his people in jeopardy, and the true King of the Jews, in aftertimes led forth from the city by his own subjects, and dying in order to save our souls. Many there were which said of Jesus in contempt, as He hung upon the cross, "He trusted in God; let him deliver him if he will have him." Matt. 27. 43. He, too, cried unto God with his voice, and could not but be heard. And in his death and resurrection were fulfilled the words which David speaks, of taking rest in sleep: "I laid me down and slept; I awaked, for the Lord sustained me.” A great mercy David reckoned it, that, surrounded as he was by enemies, he should be enabled to sleep in safety. A great miracle we may well esteem it, one of the chief of all related in God's word, that Christ, dead and buried as He was, and guarded with most watchful jealousy by his foes, rose again from death to life. Let us thankfully remember, that He was the first fruits of them that slept. Let us live after the pattern of his life, so that after our departure hence, we may arise with Him to life everlasting.
David was confident that he should have God's help, and confident that with it he should prosper. Yet at the same time he prays for it most earnestly, saying, "Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God." And he pleads mercies received of old, as an argument for his obtaining more: "for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly." The more we trust that we have God on our side, let us the more fervently pray for his assistance. The more He has helped us hitherto, let us plead with Him this very thing that He may continue to help us now. His office and attribute it is to save. Our privilege it is that we are allowed to say to Him, Lord, Thou hast already saved us greatly, therefore save yet further, we beseech Thee! And as Thou hast been pleased to make us, to redeem us, and to sanctify us, complete thy work in thy due time, and so deliver us from evil upon earth, that Thou mayest finally glorify us in heaven!
PART V. O. T.